January 29, 2020 10:41 am | Updated 12:58 pm IST

Dr P Raghuram talks about his new responsibilities as president of Association of Surgeons of India

Power and responsibility: Considered to be the ‘Voice for Surgery’ in the country, ASI strives to take the latest techniques in the surgical field to the remotest parts of the country

The year 2020 began with added responsibilities for Dr P Raghuram. One of the youngest in 82 years history of Asia Pacific’s largest surgical organisation to be elected to the apex position as the president of Association of Surgeons of India (ASI), he feels his responsibility towards the medical fraternity has grown.

Explaining about ASI, Dr Raghuram, who is a Pamda Shri awardee and Dr B C Roy National awardee, says, “The Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) was established in 1938 to realise a long standing wish among the surgeons in India to get together for the purpose of sharing each other’s experiences and enhancing their surgical skills. Starting from a humble beginning with 112 members in 1938, the Association of Surgeons of India is the world’s second largest surgical Organisation after The American College of Surgeons (which is the world’s largest surgical body)”.

Widely considered to be the ‘Voice for Surgery’ in the country, ASI promotes the art/science of surgery and strives to take the latest techniques in the surgical field to the remotest parts of the country in an endeavour to improve the lives of people all over India.

ASI’s vast network and influence is reflected in that it a strong presence in the form of State Chapters and City Branches in all the 29 states and Union territories across India in addition to 12 speciality sections comprising of specialist surgeons practising the art and science of breast surgery, onco surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, laparoscopic/minimal access surgery, endocrine surgery, genito-urinary surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, thoracic/cardiovascular surgery, trauma/critical care surgery in addition to sections representing rural surgeons and surgeons in the armed forces.

Dr. Raghuram polled the highest number of votes ever and secured the biggest ever victory margin in the 82 years history of the Association. Says Dr Raghuram, “My heartfelt gratitude to the membership at large for giving me the biggest ever mandate in ASI’s history. I promise to ensure creative leadership and accountable governance in the Association.”

Doctors’ well being

Hyderabad lost two doctors at a young age recently due to cardiac arrest. Steering the subject towards doctors’ well being, Dr Raguram says, “Doctors don’t seem to understand the importance of leading a balanced life and looking after their well being. Not sure if in general they have learnt the art of de-stressing. Spending quality time with my parents, spouse and children is a major stress buster for me. I also meditate and pray as part of must de-stressing activities. Practising the art and Science of Surgery and serving as president of the world’s second largest surgical organisation this year, are but just one component of my life. Being in the rat race of practice is not my cup of tea. In my personal view, operating on the highest volume of patients or seeing highest number of patients each day, is not an achievement in itself. Leading a balanced life is. We must not forget on a daily basis that we come into this world with nothing and, leave also with nothing. What matters is how well we live and that’s a balancing act which one has to consciously reflect regularly.”

ASI 2020 agenda

1. To provideeducation and training courses for surgical trainees and practising surgeons in an endeavour to make them better surgeons with a humane touch. In this regard, several courses are being rolled out across the country in collaboration with world renowned surgical organisations.

2.Hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray. Focus on community service through the state chapters and city branches of ASI across the country by adopting villages for the welfare of our community. India is predominantly a rural country with close to 70% of population and workforce residing in villages. It is therefore my wish and desire that every state chapter/city branch of ASI adopts a village and undertakes initiatives that are; village specific for the greater good of the community.

3. Establish rapport with the Government of India to ensure that ASI is actively involved in policy making matters relevant to surgery and surgical training. My mission will be strategic implementation of my goals with laser sharp focus and determination in an endeavour to significantly improve the delivery of surgical care in India. At the end of my term, I wish to be recognised and remembered as a “People’s President”.

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