Bengalis shining abroad

Bengalis shining abroad

December 10, 2013

That Bengalis shine wherever they go has been proved again in recent times. A Bengali physician in Britain and a young Indian-American (Bengali origin) making a mark in politics have made us proud.

Dr Apurba Chatterjee

A Bengali doctor, now working in Britain to take care of UK's ageing population, has been honoured with the prestigious Pride of Reading award. Dr Apurba Chatterjee is an alumnus of North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri and School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata. He arrived in the UK for the first time on August 31, 1997. It was the same day when Princess Diana died in a car accident. He is an expert in geriatric medicine, specialising in the diseases of the elderly. Dr Chatterjee is attached with Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) for the last eight years.

 •  The UK-based doctor has been honoured at the 10th Annual Pride of Reading awards ceremony.

 •   He received the Health Worker of the Year award for setting up a one-stop Parkinson’s disease clinic at Royal Berkshire Hospital, and ensuring funding for it. Parkinson's patients will now get access to an array of specialists at one clinic.

 •   Dr Chatterjee was nominated for this award by RBH ward sister Helen Mallock, who praised his commitment to the clinic, especially for securing funding from Parkinson’s UK Reading Branch.

 •   The clinic, The Woodley Ward Elderly Movement Disorders Clinic, opened last September. Here Parkinson’s patients get reviewed by consultants, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

His approach towards treatment

 •   He can relate to the pathos of the patients as he has experienced the situation in real life. He has nursed his father, a Parkinson’s patient, for the past 23 years. His father now lives in Kolkata.

 •   He emphasises the need for a holistic approach towards treating these patients rather than relying only on neurologists. A geriatrician has the proper training to deal with the whole gamut of morbidities in Parkinson’s patients.

 •   He provides anxiety management tips to his elderly patients and ensures they have good amount of sleep.

Improving the geriatric scene in India 

Dr Chatterjee wants to introduce a full-fledged geriatric programme in India to help improve the current situation. He also wants to help set up homes for the elderly that would have attendants trained to take care of patients with dementia or Parkinson's.

"Care for the elderly is as specialised as taking care of children. I want to help shape up a geriatric programme, especially for Kolkata where there are so many elderly people. Doctors need to be trained on how to take care of old patients. I want to set up homes in Kolkata where carers have knowledge about feeding habits, swallowing problems and how to treat people with dementia and Parkinson's with dignity," Dr Chatterjee said.

The number of people in the 60-plus age group in India is expected to increase to 100 million by 2013 and to 198 million by 2030, making it home to the second largest population of elders in the world. We need geriatricians and carers in our society to attend the aged patients. Hope Dr Chatterjee’s plans become successful in India too.

Raj Mukherji

At the age of 29, he may look like a boy next door, but looks are often deceiving. If we take a tour of his past life we can understand how his life has made him tough from inside. He has made a mark in the political scenario of United States at a very young age.

He won the State Assembly polls in New Jersey as a Democratic Party nominee for the 33rd Legislative District. He is one of the youngest to be elected to the house. He has been the former deputy mayor of Jersey City from March 2012 to June 2013, and chairman of the Housing Authority.

A son of Indian immigrants, he had to support himself by working through high school, college and university as his parents were forced to return home due to economic crisis. His father, the late Asim Mukherji, an accountant by profession, had serious health issues which made him leave his work. He could not afford health coverage without employment and so returned to India.

According to information on his personal  website, this experience shaped Raj's perspective and interest in healthcare, and inspired much of his subsequent advocacy in that field.

Career achievements

 •   He founded an internet consulting and software development company while in middle school and grew it.

 •   He co-founded a public affairs firm at the age of 19 that he grew into New Jersey state’s third largest lawyer-lobbying firm while learning the inner workings of the State House.

 •   He advocated abolishing death penalty in New Jersey and replacing it with life imprisonment without parole.

 •   He has lobbied for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and the transgender community’s equality.

 •   At 24, Raj was appointed the youngest commissioner and chairman in the history of the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) – the state’s second largest housing authority – where he has earned nationwide acclaim for his oversight and various reforms. The $70 million agency serves over 16,000 residents and over 6,700 households.

 •   He is presently an adjunct professor of political science at New Jersey City University.

Parting Thought

Not just in West Bengal or in India, outstanding Bengalis make us proud in whichever corner of the earth they live. Stories of such men are an inspiration for generations to come.

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Comments (3)
Saikat Reply
December 10, 2013
Proud of them... I hope the geriatric care gets a boost in India also.
Shiladitya Reply
December 10, 2013
Hope the geriartric care centre comes up soon.
Amartya Reply
December 10, 2013
Best of luck to both!
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