Tuesday, 13 May 2014 11:28

ISN announces the passing of its 1st Pioneer from South Asia

Vidya AcharyaProfessor Vidya N Acharya has died at the age of 75 years after a short illness.

In 2013, ISN had selected her to be the first recipient of its Pioneer Award for South Asia, a greatly deserved recognition for her unstinting leadership and commitment, particularly as an educator, which has done so much to move nephrology in India forward over recent decades.

Prof Acharya was born in 1938 and had her entire education in Mumbai. She was a student of Seth GS Medical College from where she obtained her MB BS, and MD.

The first female nephrologist in India, she established and developed the Nephrology Unit at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. There she developed the very first dialysis and kidney transplant programs in Western India.

She was a founder member of both the Indian Society of Nephrology and the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation, became in due course president of both societies, and was unfailing in her support of them. She was also a founder member and past president of Hypertension Society of India. She was a very active member of the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, and she was passionate about the importance of preventing CKD.

But it is as a teacher that she will be most remembered. Respectfully called "madam", she was a popular teacher in medicine and science, having trained thousands of medical students, and hundreds of postgraduate students including two hundred young nephrologists. Through this teaching, her contribution to the growth of nephrology and the development of nephrologists in India has been immense. Despite facing a number of health issues in recent years, her commitment to education remained undiminished until the end. She was always seated in the front row of medical and nephrology conferences. Unafraid of presenting a point of view, she regularly rose to challenge both old and young presenters with questions and offer the benefit of her long experience.

Little known in the wider world of nephrology beyond India, Dr. Achayra personified the intent of the Pioneer Awards to recognize local leaders who were instrumental in the development of nephrology in emerging regions of the world. It was this extraordinary and sustained commitment to nephrology education, and to the organization of societies that maintained that tradition, which made her such a worthy recipient of the first South Asia Pioneer Award, announced at the World Congress of Nephrology 2013, and presented personally to her at the Indian Society of Nephrology Congress in Gurgaon in December 2013.

This obituary was provided by Vivek Jha, William Couser and John Feehally.

 

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