February 23, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi
A new department for rheumatology and clinical immunology was inaugurated at the Amrita School of Medicine on February 20, 2011. The department will offer comprehensive adult and pediatric care for arthritis, including biologic therapy.
“There are over 10 lakh patients with various rheumatological complaints in the state of Kerala alone,” informed Dr. Padmanabha Shenoy, head of the new department, welcoming the 150 physicians who had travelled from different parts of the state to attend.
Dr. Shenoy noted that Amrita’s will become the first academic department in Kerala that will offer adequate evaluation and appropriate treatment facilities for rheumatology and clinical immunology.
Prof. Sita Naik, Member Board of Governors, Medical Council of India and former Head of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Dean at SGPGI was the invited guest at the inauguration.
“Nationally, there has been a recognition within the medical community that rheumatology is a specialty which is needed at both ends – the adult and the pediatric,” she said. “A wide spectrum of rheumatic diseases can affect the prime productive years of an affected person’s life.”
She congratulated Amrita for setting up the new department to provide total care to patients with rheumatological diseases.
“Because of the chronic nature of the disease, the crippling effects and the social non-acceptance of the disease, a large number of specialists are definitely required for meeting challenges,” she added. “Therefore, it is wonderful that this specialty is taking root in many institutes.”
Swami Poornamritananda Puri blessed the occasion with his presence.
“Selfish people lose the support of nature,” he said. “When we turn selfless and serve the world with love and compassion, immense strength flows to us. This is one of the best places to show your love and compassion to the suffering ones.”
Dr. Prem Nair, the Medical Director also spoke.
“This is really a proud moment for us as we focus on yet another specialty area,” he stated. “In a tertiary care facility, there is always a need for specializations and developing a referral approach to disease entities.”
Expert clinicians and faculty from the field were also invited to speak. “Listen to your patients carefully because arthritis is only a symptom and can occur due to many causes,” stated Dr. Amita Aggarwal, Professor at the Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, SGPGI, Lucknow.
Dr. Amita spoke mainly on polyarthritis and spondyloarthropathy, the common rheumatological problems diagnosed.
The diagnosis and treatment aspects of arthritis in children was discussed by Dr. Sathish Kumar, Consultant Pediatric Rheumatologist at CMC Vellore. Other speakers addressed various aspects of arthritis and other rheumatological diseases in adults and children.
Amrita faculty for rheumatology, Dr. Padmanabha Shenoy and Dr. Suma Balan also shared their insights and experiences.
The new department will soon begin offering services such as rheumatoid arthritis clinic and SLE clinic in addition to regular medical management of arthritis patients. The unit is also in the process of establishing a state-of-the-art autoimmune disease laboratory.