Choose the road less well travelled
Dr KK Aggarwal, Editor in Chief eMedinewS and IMA News in conversation with Dr Mammen Chandy,
Director, Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata
Dr Mammen Chandy has been honored with Dr BC Roy National Award for the year 2008 under
the category of 'Eminent Medical Person'.
How does it feel being conferred one of the most prestigious awards in the medical field?
It feels good to have been honored in one's own country and it has been great to receive so many congratulatory emails from colleagues from all over the world.
Tell us about your journey so far.
I joined the Christian Medical College Vellore in 1967, and graduated as the ‘Best Outgoing Student’ of my batch. I then joined the Dept. of Medicine at CMC for postgraduate studies, during which time I developed an interest in the field of Hematology. India at that time did not have any formal training in hematology so I went to the Westmead Center, Sydney, Australia and obtained the FRACP in medicine and the FRCPA in hematology from the Australian College of Medicine and Pathology. On my return to CMC, I worked to establish the Department of Hematology, which was formally inaugurated in 1986. It was indeed a challenge to develop a new clinical speciality but I received full support from CMC.
The first bone marrow transplant In CMC was done in 1986, and since then the bone marrow transplantation programme in CMC, Vellore has progressed to become the leading programme in the country – more than half the bone marrow transplants in India are done in CMC, Vellore. Our team at Vellore also performed the first bone marrow transplant for Thalassemia in the county. In addition, the Dept. has contributed significantly to the science of transplant in the world in terms of research publications.