During the last week of January, Dr. Philip Ninan, Board Chair, represented the Vellore CMC Foundation at CMC’s Council Meeting in Vellore. This afforded him an opportunity to meet with administration, visit CMC’s different campuses and departments and converse with other Friends of Vellore organization representatives, all with the aim of improving the ways in which the Foundation can support CMC’s ongoing work and success. Below are excerpts from his trip report:
MEETINGS WITH ADMINISTRATION
In extensive discussions with Dr. Anna Pulimood (’87), Principal, we spoke about how the Foundation could enhance the value and support we provide CMC for education and research. Collaborations with US based health care institutions are becoming an increasing priority for student and fellow exchange programs, specialty training and medical research. CMC has recently won a prestigious institutional research award in India (India Research Excellence – Citation Awards by Clarivate Analytics), and we discussed how to build on the enormous successes at CMC. CMC is building an internal app that would permit faculty to have their own page with critical information about their activities, interests and research. The app showcases student opportunities to become involved in research projects early in their educational experience. A key person who is helping with this initiative is Dr. Pippa Deodhar, a very competent and impressive person whose contributions have already had a major impact.
FRIENDS OF VELLORE (FOV) ORGANIZATIONS
There are several FOV organizations globally that support CMC and her mission. Hugh Skeil, from the Development Office at CMC organized a meeting of representatives from the UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and the US (our Foundation). Updates on the various FOV activities and opportunities to support initiatives at CMC were discussed. We agreed to continue coordination and collaborations on projects that fit each FOV mission and priorities. Hugh and Debbie Skeil were also gracious enough to have us over to their home for a sumptuous evening together.
UPDATE ON JAWADHI HILLS
The creation of a maternity unit at Jawadhi Hills will permit expansion of the current health services to include continuous labor and delivery services like emergency care and an operating theater. Additionally, accommodation facilities for staff will be constructed. Dr. Anu Rose and two staff members, Mr. Dhinakaran and Mr. John Paul, visited and presented an update of the amazing work they are doing, including the developments of CMC’s model villages program.
CENTER FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH
An opportunity arose to visit with Dr. Alok Srivastava, head of the Center for Stem Cell Research. The center was established 15 years ago by the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India. Its mandate is to bring stem cell science to the management of human diseases with unmet needs. The center has been a leader in scientific advances on musculoskeletal regeneration, gene-based therapies for hemophilia and hemoglobin disorders, and cellular reprogramming for bone marrow failure syndromes. This is basic and translational research at the cutting edge of global advances.