Not Just Skin Deep
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16 October 2010
By Tushar Tere
Vadodara Dermatologist Impresses World Community
When we met Dr Shyam Verma at his clinic in Akota last week he was preparing for a seminar on dermatology that he had to deliver before medical experts at European Academy of Dermatology in Sweden. He was busy researching details about the topic as he had to travel that very day, to catch a plane to Gothenburg. However, this was not something he was doing for the first time.
It was just one of those busy days in his life for Verma who has been on the move for last 14 years. A globe–trotter in the true sense of the term, Verma has been travelling consistently to western countries to share his knowledge on dermatology among doctors and students.
Despite being based in a small town like Vadodara, Verma has made his mark at international level and is now a familiar name in universities of UK and USA. He brought laurels to Gujarat when in May last year he was appointed as director of US–based International Society of Dermatology (ISD) that has over 90 member countries . He became the first Indian dermatologist to be assigned such an important post.
"My efforts to share knowledge and expert views on dermatology materialised when universities in western countries started recognising Indian doctors’ talent. For the first time ever in 2007, five Indian dermatologists were invited to give presentations at European Academy of Dermatology’s annual conference in Austria. It was an important step forward as the event was attended by about 9,000 dermatologists from across the world," said Verma who had headed the fivemember team.
"Earlier, Indian dermatologists never got chance to showcase their talent at international level despite having rich experiences. However, things are changing rapidly now as Indian dermatologists are regularly invited at international forums," pointed out Verma who is executive board member of Winter Academy of Dermatology, Italy.
Having an impressive lineage, Verma is grandson of Dr Jyotindra Mehta, second vice–chancellor of M S University and grand nephew of Gujarat’s first chief minister Dr Jivraj Mehta. His father Dr Bhanu Verma being a successful dermatologist, Verma developed interest in dermatology in early stages of his life. He has delivered over 90 lectures at international forums – a record of sorts for any Indian dermatologist. And, the universities where he has delivered lectures include some prestigious names like Oxford, University of Amsterdam, University of Munich, John Hopkins and Mayo Clinic.
Also, he is the only Indian doctor who has three appointments as associate professor in University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and State University of New York. "I have written over 60 articles in last 10 years that have appeared in British Journal of Dermatology, International Journal of Dermatology, Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and other prestigious journals.
As a Gujarati, I feel proud that Indian talent is getting recognised globally," Verma said. He stays away from the country for almost two–and–half months every year for delivering lectures or attending seminars.
"My aim is to learn more and share more about dermatology and put India on the global map. Top dermatologists and professionals from across the globe also visit my clinic in Vadodara every year. I will keep moving to different countries in future and try to reach out to more people," said Verma who stays abroad for almost three months every year.
"We hope to attract top dermatologists from all over the world to study and conduct research in the field of dermatology in India. It will help us find cure for fatal skin–diseases and enrich the experience of experts here. Eventually it will help the patients here," Verma envisaged.