WHEN the American Neurological Association (ANA) conferred on Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas its honorary membership, the Chennai-based neuroscientist became the third Indian, after Dr. Jacob Chandy (Christian Medical College, Vellore) and Dr. Eddie Barucha (G.S. Sethi Medical College, Mumbai), to be so honoured by the prestigious world body in its 128th year of existence.
Founded in 1875, the ANA is the oldest and most exclusive professional institution of neurologists in the world. Every year it elects two or three eminent individuals as "Honorary Members", which, in the world of neurology, is equivalent to granting a place in the "Hall of Fame".
The membership is given to neuroscientists for their outstanding contributions as teachers, researchers, investigators and clinicians. Prof. Srinivas has won it for the exemplary services he has rendered in furthering neurological sciences over the last five decades. Prof. Srinivas credits his wife, Padma, for his achievements.
Born in 1933 in Calicut (now Kozhikode) in Kerala, Srinivas graduated from the Madras Medical College, Chennai, and was one of the first residents at New Delhi's Safdurjung Hospital, affiliated to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS). After branching off into neurology, he received extensive training in Canada and the United Kingdom for over eight years.
Prof. Srinivas had the privilege of having been trained by doyens in the various branches of neurology - in neuroradiology by Dr. James Ambrose (London), co-inventor of the CT scan; in neuropathology by Prof. Donald Baxter, Saskatoon, Canada; in neurosurgery by Prof. Wyllie McKissock (London); in neuromuscular diseases by Prof. John Walton; and in clinical neurology by Prof. John Walton, Prof. Baxter and Dr. J.B. Foster.
Prof. Srinivas returned to Chennai in 1965. He was the first to get the degree D.M. in Neurology (or any other super-speciality degree) in India. He joined the faculty of the Madras Medical College's Institute of Neurology and quickly became Honorary Professor. He Srinivas is a Physician Fellow of all three Royal Colleges in the U.K. (London, Edinburgh and Glasgow), a unique distinction for an Indian. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and a Fellow of the International Child Neurology Society.
Among his achievements are the development from scratch of two community departments of neurology at the Voluntary Health Services Medical Centre and Public Health Centre, which cater mostly to the poor and the marginalised. He organised, through these departments, over 50 visiting professorships and orations by eminent neurologists from around the world, including the T.S. Srinivasan Neurosciences Oration series, sponsored by the TVS family, now in its 24th year. The emphasis Prof. Srinivas has placed on comprehensive multi-disciplinary care has made these departments stand out as examples of world-class healthcare for the poor.
He has to his credit over 100 presentations and awards in India and around the world, including a lifetime achievement award from his neurosciences fraternity in Chennai. He has founded the Neurosciences India Group with a vision to bring neurosciences education in India on a par with that in the developed world.ASHA KRISHNAKUMAR