IASNM’s Chai with Scintillating Stars: Webcast Series #10 (Dr. Rakesh Kumar)

We welcome everyone again to the scintillating episode of ‘Chai-podcast’ with a very honored guest Dr. Rakesh Kumar. He is currently the professor and HOD of the department of Nuclear Medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He is one of the past presidents of Society of Nuclear Medicine India (SNMI), currently editor in chief of Indian journal of Nuclear Medicine and one of the editors of the Nuclear Medicine communication journal, an official journal of British Society of Nuclear Medicine. Dr. Kumar has published numerous articles and is recipient of multiple awards, topmost of which includes ‘President’s award’ in India. We were privileged to have him with us today.

Talking about his career, Dr. Kumar said that he was into Nuclear Medicine by accident. He completed his medical college from Rohtak, Haryana and got selected in nuclear medicine course at BARC, where he started his journey.

Asking about his perspective on strength and weaknesses of nuclear medicine systems in Europe and American countries, as he had exposure to both worlds in his early career. To this Dr. Kumar pointed out a major difference in training of nuclear medicine residency in these regions. NM having an independent standing in Europe and Asian countries, gives the branch an advantage over American system, where it is a subspecialty of Radiology. Dr. Takalkar agreed to it, but also expressed his cognizance for increasing anatomical component in the field of NM, making radiology an important aspect of combined reporting which is expected to exaggerate when PET/MRI becomes more accessible.

Moving on to Dr. Kumar’s stellar record of publication, Dr. Kumar added that it was his zeal and utmost interest in research that made him carry out similar studies in his institution that he read in international journals. He found immense pleasure on receiving the reprints of his publications. He would like to see the same zest in the young professionals. He would advise them to start with publishing simple information on unique cases and then move on to full publications. He encourages new thoughts and ideas.

Seeking for Dr. Kumar’s advice on future ties with IASNM, Dr. Kumar recalled having signed agreements between SNM (India) and ACNM through IASNM and expressed his gratefulness to the society and the colleagues, who played an important role in reviving the relationship between SNM (India) and IASNM, which went dormant for some time in the past. He appreciated IASNM way to attract young professionals to SNMMI meeting by giving away awards and keeping up the excitement through society dinners and meetings, which has made the relations deeper and stronger.

With changing times and India moving ahead in researching newer nuclear probes, Dr. Kumar was assertive that physician in USA and in India, both would benefit from each other’s experiences. With India being strong on patient volume and combining it with American protocols and systematic research, would further enrich the relationship. Dr.Takalkar was of similar opinion and encouraged student exchange and company involvement to tap the high data volume available in India.

Dr. Kumar was honored with ‘The President’s award’, one of the most prestigious awards given to Indian physician and he is the only NM physician in India to receive the award by far. He mentioned that his persistent hard work for 30 years in the field and his passion for research has earned him this position. Being contended with his achievement, he gave out a simplistic message ‘to keep up the hard work and involve in research with sincerity and patience, awards are bound to come with time’. Such a worthy note!

A special thanks to Medical Imaging consultancy for supporting this IASNM initiative.

Transcribed by Khushboo Gupta, MD


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