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Concert by Classical Singer Yesudas in Support of SN Chennai

The volunteers and Board members of the Sankara Nathralaya OM Trust joined Yesudas on stage after the event. Photos: Venkat Kuttua Photography

The volunteers and Board members of the Sankara Nathralaya OM Trust joined Yesudas on stage after the event. Photos: Venkat Kuttua Photography

MARIETTA, GA: OM Trust-USA, the Maryland-based fund-raising arm of Sankara Nethralaya hospital in Chennai, India, organized a fund-raiser on Sunday, September 17, at Lassiter High School, in Marietta, Georgia. The event included a classical music concert by the renowned musician, Padma Vibushan K. J. Yesudas and the 1,000-seat capacity auditorium filled up hours before the start of the program.

After a welcome speech by Bala Indurti, S. V. Acharya, President of OM Trust, USA spoke about the objectives of the OM Trust and how it had been instrumental in supporting the charitable work of Sankara Nethralaya. He was followed by the event that the audience was eagerly waiting for, the concert by Yesudas and an introduction of the artists.

Read more…

Custodian of Sankara Nethralaya’s knowledge treasure trove wins high acclaim for contribution to his niche field

The 12th of August 2017 was a day of great pride and fulfilment to an institution which had over the years come for praise for making its mark in fields out of its core area. If the NASSCOM awards for ‘Best IT adoption in healthcare sector’ and ‘Best ‘Electronic Medical Record’ came as acknowledgements of its excellent leveraging Information Technology, its unique self sustaining business model won great praise from leading bodies like the American Chamber of Commerce and a high level team of business leaders and students from the Avicenna Leadership Program, Holland, who paid a personal visit to the Sankara Nethralaya main campus for a first hand understanding of the same.

This time it was acknowledgement of its contribution to the field of  ‘Library Science’ by the institution, a valuable contribution made through the long time custodian of  its ‘Medical Library’ the exhaustive literary facility at the institution’s main campus, serving as a  source of knowledge and referral. Shri Shankar Kumar the soft spoken and simple Librarian manning the facility has come under praise several times in the past for his dedication and competence in keeping the decision makers updated of the latest books launched in the various fields branches of basic sciences/life science to ophthalmology and optometry that need to be acquired for the library and his professional assistance to new users in identifying the books they are looking for. A man with a strong passion for his field and a firm belief that the only way to stay well informed and ahead in the field and keep his facility running well would be by continuous acquisition of knowledge and latest trends in the field.

It gives us great pleasure to share with the members of the Sankara Nethralaya family that Shri A.Shankar Kumar was honoured in close succession by two of the nation’s leading associations governing and regulating libraries.  He was bestowed a ‘Certificate of Honour’ and a plaque at the ‘MALA Awards” instituted by the ‘Madras Library Association’ among the oldest and highly prestigious bodies governing the field. The function was held at the IIT-Madras in commemoration of the 125th birth centenary celebration of Padmashree S.R. Ranganathan, well known mathematician and ‘Father of Library Science in India’ on the 12th of August 2017 and was attended by leading publishing houses and dignitaries from Thailand, Netherlands, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The award was presented by Professor Dr.Viswanathan, Former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University in the distinguished presence of Dr. Manorama Srinath, former Professor, Department of Library Science, University of Madras and Professor Parthasarathy (retd).

This was followed by a presentation of a well researched White Paper on a very critical area of Library functioning, titled ‘Information Retrieval System- Sankara Nethralaya Experience’ at the ‘International Conference on ‘Libraries Beyond Borders’ (ICLLB-2017) conducted jointly by the Department of Library Services, Christian Medical College, Vellore and the Library and Information Science Society for Asia and the Pacific’ (LISSAPAC) on the 18th and 19th of August 2017. The white paper was very well received by the attendees and was acknowledged with a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ by the organizers.

Sharing his joy at being recognized by the two leading bodies governing the running of libraries in the nation, a highly moved Shankar Kumar recalled with gratitude that it was Dr. SS.Badrinath and Dr. Vasanthi Badrinath who persuaded him to take up a career in this field and later offered him the position of Librarian at Sankara Nethralaya, when he was serving as a Laboratory Assistant under Dr. Vasanthi Badrinath.  He recalled that he did not have any knowledge on this field or any special fascination for it but they realized his potential and gave him the opportunity to perform and shine in a new field. He had a high word of praise and gratitude for Dr. Muna Bhende, Head of the Library department for her continued guidance and support and Dr Lingam Gopal for his encouragement, he also recalled the encouragement by Dr. Sujal Shah a senior consultant who was serving at the institution during the early days of his career as a Librarian.

Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its Joy and hearty Congratulations to Shri Shankar Kumar on his winning high laurels from the nation’s leading Library governing bodies and wishes him many more years of glorious service and achievements in his field.

Reaching out a hand of compassion and care to the unreached gets its due recognition

Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Vista India the publisher of Health & Fashion magazine recognizes outstanding medical professionals who have contributed to society through their service orientation, especially to the socially and economically backward sections of society, with the ‘Mayan Awards’ every year. This year too witnessed the recognition and awarding of eminent doctors from various specialties who had exhibited professional excellence and a spirit of service in discharging their duties. We take great pleasure and pride in sharing that the selection committee chose Dr Rajesh P.S, Senior Consultant and Dr Gajendra Kumar Varma, Associate Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya in recognition of their impeccable service to the indigent visually impaired in the most remote regions of the country, through the ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU).

Dr P.S. Rajesh receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

Dr P.S. Rajesh receiving the award from Ms Kiran Bedi, Lt Governor of Puducherry

The awards were presented in a glittering ceremony held at Hotel Accord, Pondicherry on 2nd July 2017, by Ms Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor, Union Territory of Puducherry. Sankara Nethralaya family lauds the commitment and service spirit of these two doctors which reflects the spirit of service and high standards of the institution they serve.

Nation’s No-1 champion of healthy vision and crusader against blindness honours the man who reflects its values and lives its ideals

Dr RR.Sudhir receives the award from the Hon’ble Minister for State for Health & Family Welfare

Dr RR.Sudhir receives the award from the Hon’ble Minister for State for Health & Family Welfare

‘Vision 2020: The Right to Sight’ the national forum of concerned stakeholders comprising of NGO’s, government bodies and corporate entities, in the forefront of advocacy, knowledge sharing and ensuring best practices, to bring about effective and enhanced eye care delivery honours distinguished individuals who have stood, strived and contributed to its cause and whose efforts have brought about discernible changes to reducing blindness and delivering better eye care. The Indian chapter of Vision 2020, the joint global initiative between the ‘World Health Organization’ (WHO) and the ‘International Association for the Prevention of Blindness’ (IAPB) conferred its highest and most prestigious award ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight- INDIA VISIONARY AWARD’ for year 2016 on Dr SS.Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankar Nathralaya. The awards were presented at the annual conference of Vision 2020 held on the 3rd and 4th June 2017, at the MGM Eye Institute, Raipur, Chhattisgarh and was attended by a large number of eye care professionals and administrators from all over the world. The VISION 2020: The Right to Sight- INDIA VISIONARY AWARD’ award was presented by the Honourable Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and was received on behalf of Dr SS.Badrinath, by Dr R.R. Sudhir, Senior Consultant Cornea Services, Head Department of Preventive Ophthalmology & Consultant In charge – Electronic Medical Records, Sankara Nethralaya.

The citation accompanying the award highlights the recipient’s phenomenal role in reducing the burden of blindness in the country, initiating high level ophthalmic research, setting high ethical and operational standards in clinical care and administering an ophthalmic institution, adhering to values of transparency, high professional ethics and innovation in eye care delivery. It has an entire paragraph dedicated to the recipient’s role in conceptualizing, developing and operating the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) the institution’s revolutionary operation theater on wheels.

The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes its ‘Chief’ on being conferred this rare honour and reaffirms its dedication and commitment to live up to his dream of a blindness free India.

Click here for the award citation

Members of Sankara Nethralaya’s research arm help post graduate students from city College enhance knowledge and understanding of their subjects of study

The Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (KNBIRVO) the research arm of Sankara Nethralaya is an 8 storied Research facility with each floor dedicated to research in a specific branch of basic medical sciences. The research scientists in all the departments carry out advanced research with specific focus on ophthalmic research. The hallmark of the institution’s research endeavors is that it is solely dedicated for translational research in the field of basic medical sciences. A lab tour was organized for 15 post graduate students from the Dr.MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women, Chennai, on the 21st of July 2017 by Dr.K. Lily Therese, Coordinator, Vidyasagar Institute of Biomedical Science, VIBS, (A unit of MRF) as an extension of the institution’s avowed objective of disseminating knowledge for the common good, the students were led by Mrs. Victoria Salomi, HOD Bioinformatics and faculty members Ms.P.Padmini, Ms.G.Shobha.

The visitors were taken around the basic medical sciences departments from the III to VI floor consisting of the L &T Ocular pathology department, Nano Biotechnology department, SN ONGC Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Core Laboratory, R.S.Mehta Jain Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Centre for Bioinformatics & L & T Microbiology Research Centre. The research scientists and HODs of the respective departments explained the infrastructure and details of research being carried out to a highly charged and enthusiastic group of students and their teachers. On completion of the tour Mrs. Victoria Salomi, expressed her deep gratitude to the management of Sankara Nethralaya for facilitating this most useful visit, on behalf of the visiting team. She had a high word of praise for all the scientists and staff members of KNBIRVO for their patient and detailed briefing of the research activities and clearing the doubts of the students, which enriched their overall knowledge and understanding and made them feel highly encouraged and motivated.

Nation’s leading provider of drug and healthcare information to Medicare professionals confers Sankara Nethralaya with a rare distinction

CIMS Medica India, is a global leading provider of drug information, educational content and marketing services to healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical marketers and consumers. CIMS Medica India publishes leading drug directories such as CIMS, IDR and various scientific journals, like the Journal of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology (JPOG), Cardiology Today, Orthopaedics Today & Medical Progress among others. It creates and distributes a wide range of healthcare information including medical and drug information systems, medical journals, customized communications and patient education in Print, Electronic, Web, Broadcast and Live Event formats. Its online brand www.cimsasia.com is among the most powerful drug search options for medical professionals. CIMS Medica joins hands with Hospital Management Show to select the nation’s best hospitals for different specialties on very stringent parameters, every year.

We take pleasure in sharing that Sankara Nethralaya was honoured as the ‘Best Hospital Unit in Ophthalmology’ for the 2nd year in succession by this leading disseminator of healthcare information. The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony held at the ITC Grand Maratha, Mumbai on the 23rd of July 2017, the award was received on behalf of the institution by its alumni Dr. Sahana Vaidya. It is a proud achievement for the hospital and the Sankara Nethralaya senior management takes this opportunity to congratulate and thank each one of you for your contribution towards maintaining high standards in every facet of our functioning.

USA’s well known farming equipment and technology conglomerate sows the seeds to relief and joy of the visually impaired in India!

Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO) the Duluth, Georgia, USA based Tractors and Farm equipments manufacturer is among the world’s most well known and largest organizations in its field of activity, with some of the premium brands in its stable. The company is also the overseas collaborator of Tractors and Farm Equipments (TAFE), India’s highly respected and leading tractor and farming equipment manufacturer. Mid- July marked the visit of senior officials from the US based conglomerate to its collaborator’s office in Chennai. TAFE the host company decided to bring about a touch of warmth to the high power meet of the two companies by organizing a visit of the dignitaries to the Sri A.Sivasailam block, Sankara Nethralaya’s State of the art eye care facility, a proud creation of its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSR), as part of the visitor’s agenda. A simple function showcasing and celebrating the TAFE- Sankara Nethralaya collaboration was organized at the Srimathi Jayashree Venkatraman Auditorium at the Sri A.Sivasailam block, named after its founder. The function was graced by Ms Mallika Srinivasan, CEO and Chairperson and senior management members from TAFE and distinguished dignitaries from the Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO). Sankara Nethralaya the beneficiary of TAFE’s massive CSR initiative was represented by Dr. T.S. Surendran, Director Pediatric Ophthalmology department and Vice-Chairman and Dr. Prema Padmanabhan, Senior Consultant and Director, Cataract &IOL department.

The latter took the opportunity to express her institution’s deep gratitude for the great support and encouragement extended by the nation’s premier farm equipment company, she gave an absorbing presentation on the large scale community services rendered by Sankara Nethralaya, its high level ophthalmic research, carried out for the common good, academic endavours to prepare a large army of dedicated professionals to fight the battle against blindness. Dr. Prema Padmanabhan recalled the long association between two of the city’s well known institutions, dating back to the days of Shri A.Sivasailam, Founder TAFE and a great friend of the institution, who had supported it during its days of inception to TAFE’s present day support by way of its massive ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’(CSR) endeavour under the dynamic leadership of its CEO and Chairperson Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, which blossomed as the Sri A.Sivasailam block, the State of the Art eye care facility named in memory and honour of her father. The presentation was extremely well received by the distinguished audience, her note on Sankara Nethralaya’s ‘One of its kind in Asia’ ‘Operation theatre on wheels’, the institution’s revolutionary initiative of performing vision revival surgeries for ‘Cataract’ the single largest cause for blindness in the country, right at the door steps of poor patients living in the most inaccessible and remote regions of the country, drew special attention and praise.

In an interesting turn of events the function organized to highlight TAFE’s role in alleviating the suffering of the visually impaired to the visiting team assumed the role of a fundraiser for its beneficiary. In a gesture reflecting its high appreciation to the noble initiative of Ms Mallika Srinivasan who serves as a director in their board and a ‘joining hands’ effort, the Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO) made a generous, on the spot grant towards Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free community services to the thunderous applause of the gathering. While the donation from the renowned technology leader in the field of farming equipment came as a great support in the institution’s ongoing battle against blindness, especially among the weaker sections of society, the citation ‘We commend your commitment to improve the lives of those most in need’ signed on behalf of the global leader in its field, by Mr. Martin H. Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO, came as a proud compliment and feather in the cap to the non-profit’s tireless work among the poor and needy visually impaired, living in the most remote/inaccessible regions of the country.

Sankara Nethralaya Family Pays Humble Salutations to Paramacharya

The Sri VD Swami Auditorium located at Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus reverberated with Veda Gosham by students of Sankaralayam marking the auspicious occasion of Maha Periyava Jayanthi being celebrated on 16th June 2017, by the Sankara Nethralaya family and devotees of Paramacharya.

Following the mellifluous invocation by Dr. Bharathi Devi, Assistant Professor, RS Mehta Jain Department of Bio Chemistry and Cell Biology, Kamalnayan Bajaj Institute for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Dr Rajesh, Senior Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya welcomed the gathering, adulating Paramacharya as one of the noblest souls of the century, he elaborated the qualities of  the ideal Guru, ingrained in the Shiva incarnate; Sri Periyava, he added was the ideal and classic example of Bliss and Pure Consciousness, as quoted by Adi Sankara in his ‘Nirvana Shataka’

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं

न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।

न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥

Mano-Buddhy-Ahangkaara Cittaani Naaham

Na Ca Shrotra-Jihve Na Ca Ghraanna-Netre |

Na Ca Vyoma Bhuumir-Na Tejo Na Vaayuh

Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivo[a-A]ham Shivo[a-A]ham ||1||

Introducing the Chief Guest of the occasion, Dr Nandhini Sankarayananan, Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya remarked that Udayalur Dr Kalyanarama Bhagavathar, was a disciple of Thiruvidaimarudur Venkatarama Bhagavathar and an ardent devotee of Sri Matam, a traditionalist in Sampradaya Bhajanas and Divya Nama Samkeerthanam.

Offering Guru Vandanam in the conventional Divya Nama Samkeerthanam style, Udayalur Sri Kalyanrama Bhagavathar, interspersed Meera Bhajans and Abhangs generously that spoke of the utmost importance of Guru Bhakthi, leading one to Mukthi.

He had a high word of praise for Dr SS Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya who was amply blessed to perform surgery for the Paramacharya Himself.

Quoting the fact that Aja Maharaja, the grandfather of Lord Rama, who was afflicted with leprosy, got cured by offering prayers at the Kailasanathar temple at Udayalur, as told by Paramacharya to a devotee who again was blessed and cured, Sri Kalyanarama Bhagavathar impressed upon all, that Guru Kripa would protect us like a shield all the time.

The auspicious occasion concluded with Arathi, floral offerings to Mahaperiyava by audience and members of Sankara Nethralaya family and distribution of Holy Prasadam specially prepared for the occasion by G N Canteen.

The pioneer and leader in children’s eye screening reiterates its premium position with a path breaking study!

The Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has over the years carved a niche for itself as a pioneer and leader in the field of children’s eye screening, while childhood is the best stage for early detection and timely treatment of ophthalmic issues, such screening comes with its own challenges as children may not be as communicative on their symptoms as adults and may often be unaware of the same given their playfulness. The ESO can take pride in developing specific protocols that enhance the quality of children eye screening in terms of better eliciting of symptoms, expertise in conducting eye screening of children suffering from speech/hearing impairment and thoughtful measures like providing break proof glasses for a playful segment who are always on the run, providing glasses with attractive colors and motifs that attract children, thereby increasing usage of spectacles in a reluctant group. The ESO was chosen by ‘ORBIS International’, the worldwide eye care and relief body as its partner in service in conducting free eye screening camps for school children of government schools in rural Tamil Nadu and holds its pride of place in the ‘Limca Book of Records’ for screening the highest number of children in a single day.

Now a high level study and findings on the ocular health of this segment by Ms Rizwana Jameel Husaindeen, Faculty member, Elite School of Optometry (ESO) has been awarded with a PhD for its ground breaking findings in the area of ‘binocular vision care’. The study brings out the disturbingly high prevalence of non-strabismic binocular vision anomalies among school children in rural and urban Tamil Nadu. The findings of the study have drawn a high level of interest owing to their broad spectrum coverage ranging from the difference in the current prevalence and existing statistics of such visual morbidity, break up of specific issues, impact of the ailment on the academic performance of the child, better testing methodologies, effective steps to combat such morbidity, better models of study and analysis. The study titled ‘Binocular Vision Anomalies and Normative Data (BAND) of Binocular Vision Parameters among School Children between 7 and 17 Years of Age In Rural and Urban Tamil Nadu’ was conducted under the guidance of Dr Krishna Kumar R Principal, Elite School of Optometry  (Supervisor) and Co-supervisors Dr. Ronnie Jacob George, Director Research, Vision Research Foundation, Senior Consultant, Glaucoma Services, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr. Meenakshi S, Director Academics, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, Sankara Nethralaya, Dr Suman Kapur, Senior Professor and Dean, Universitywide, Head – Department of Biological Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus and presented on 19th June 2017 at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus. The external examiner of the thesis was Prof B R Shamanna, Professor, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad.

Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates Dr.Rizwana on her being awarded a Doctorate by a renowned academic body and expresses its deep appreciation for her commendable research on a subject not studied in such detail in the past and its critical findings which promise to open new vistas in understanding and treating visual morbidities in this category among a sensitive and vulnerable age group. A significant step indeed in the institution’s march towards total eradication of blindness!

The Doctorate to Ms Rizwana assumes special significance on another note too! it gives the Elite School of Optometry the pride of being the only optometry institution in the nation with the distinction of having 7 of its faculty members honoured with Doctorates. The entire Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its high appreciation of this excellent exhibition of knowledge and subject matter expertise by members of the ESO and salutes the rare achievement of its academic arm.

Landmark collaboration between nation’s premier optometry institution and a highly respected seat of academics and research promises to take Optometry to its next level

The 7th of June 2017 marked a giant stride for the art and science of optometry, the critical study of light and refraction and its impact on vision, as the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy, Thanjavur the premium arts and technology institution popularly known as SASTRA and the Elite School of Optometry (ESO) the academic arm of Sankara Nethralaya credited as the pioneer and exclusive research and study center for this niche field, entered into an important academic collaboration under which the two institutions would be offering the 4 year Bachelor in Optometry course and two year Master in Optometry courses jointly. The collaboration could be described as the culmination of an MoU between the institutions to exchange knowledge, further joint research, study and engage in other academic endeavors, entered back in year 2008. As both the academic partners were keen on offering the optometry courses as a joint program, the proposal was taken as the 9th agenda point at the Academic Council Meeting held at the SASTRA University campus at Thanjavur on the date mentioned above and was approved unanimously by the ACM committee to go ahead with the programmes from this academic year.

Dr. Meenakshi S, Director,Academics, Dr. Krishna Kumar R, Principal, ESO and Ms. Anuradha, Lecturer, ESO, represented Sankara Nethralaya at the meeting under the guidance of Dr. S.S.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya, Mr V. Vaidyanathan, Board member, ESO, Dr. K.S. Vasan, MD, Dr. G.S.Rao, Medical Director and Ms.Akila Ganesan, Director Administration, Sankara Nethralaya. As per the understanding finalized between the two institutions, students pursuing their undergraduate program would spend the first two years of their program at SASTRA and the remaining 2 years at the Elite School of Optometry.

The collaboration marks the coming together of two institutions with a common passion for excellence in academics, adherence to stringent quality parameters, constant innovation, research and high ethical standards and would facilitate a synergy of their areas of strength and expertise which would translate into a greater learning experience and exposure for the students and a deeper study of the science of Optometry. The collaboration promises to fulfill the dream of Dr. S.S.Badrinath to take Optometry to its next level in the country by enhancing its scope and impact which would enable technology driven health care, accessible and affordable to the common man.