Prem Kumari Misra—The Doyenne of Pediatrics (1938–2020)
Emeritus Prof. Prem Kumari Misra was born on September 22, 1938, in Farrukhabad of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Her father was a renowned educationist and later became Director of Education. She joined King George’s Medical College in 1955 for medical graduation (MBBS) and graduated in 1960, obtaining the second position in the institution. She went on to do her DCH and MD in pediatrics from the same institution and later joined the Department of Pediatrics as faculty in 1966. She took over the charge as Head of Pediatrics at KGMC in 1987. Because of her administrative and leadership qualities, she was appointed Principal and Dean Faculty of Medicine in 1992. She superannuated as Principal in 1998 but due to her professional preeminence, she was given an extension as Professor for two more years until 2000. Later she continued to guide students and became an Advisor for Neonatology and Pediatrics and Senior Consultant for DNB Pediatrics in Vivekanand Polyclinic Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow.
She had a remarkable memory of remembering medical information through multiple editions of textbooks, and her quotes used to stir discussions during grand rounds and seminars for the students to enrich their contemporary knowledge.
Dr. Misra was a pioneer in starting and establishing the specialty of neonatology in Uttar Pradesh. She established the first state-of-art neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the state of UP, which immensely improved the newborn care and training of healthcare professionals in North India. Professor Misra was the State Coordinator for National Neonatology Forum (NNF) and a Trainer in Neonatal Resuscitation in India. She has been a founder member of the executive board of NNF and President of UP State Branch of NNF.
She has been a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), National Academy of Medical Sciences of India (NAMS), International College of Pediatrics (United States), National Neonatology Forum (NNF), and Member of New York Academy of Sciences. She was a recipient of Dr. B.C. Roy National Award in the year 1990–1991 for the establishment of the specialty of neonatology. She was the Woman of the year 2000, selected by the American Biographic Institute, United States. She was an excellent orator and delivered several orations, including the Sir Shriram Memorial Oration of NAMS for 2004. Based on her contribution as a teacher, researcher, and pediatrician, she was crowned with many awards. Notable among them were the “Vigyan Ratna Award” of Council of Science and Technology, UP in 2008, “UP Ratna Award” by the National Association for the Intellectuals in 1995. Besides, she was also a recipient of the “Senior Pediatrician Award” of UP State Branch of IAP in 2003, and “Life Time Achievement Award” by UP State Branch of NNF in 2004, and by UP State Branch of IAP in 2013.
Dr. Misra has been a Fellow in the United States from 1973 to 1974 and again in 1987 at the University of Chicago. She was also felicitated by various organizations, such as the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Medical Council of India (MCI), and Lucknow University for her contribution as a clinician and by the Governor of UP on Teachers’ Day and King George’s Medical University as an outstanding teacher.
She has held many important posts in different committees on training and care in the field of pediatrics and neonatology. She was a Regional Consultant for the Postgraduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health (PGDMCH) program of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). She has been President of India CLEN, President of State Branch of IAP NNF, and sponsor of Institute of Clinical Epidemiology. She has been a member of several journals’ editorial boards; a member of several committees; Executive Council member of UP King George’s Dental University, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow; Chairperson of Expert Committee of Medical Research, Council of Science and Technology, UP; and Chairperson Ethics Committee and Stem Cell Research Committee of King George’s Medical University, Lucknow. Dr. Misra has been an Expert Member in Advisory Panel for Pediatrics and Neonatology of NAMS for several years and Convener of the State Chapter of NAMS. She has also been an Academic Committee member and Academic Council of NAMS from 2015 to 2018. Dr Misra has published over 170 papers in national and international journals and also presented almost a similar number of papers in various international and national meetings. She has conducted several research projects of national importance.
She was a brilliant academician, researcher, and teacher who trained and inspired generations of doctors. She exemplified the qualities of care, compassion, and clinical excellence, rare in these times. Admired by her young patients and their parents, she was an inspiration, especially for women achievers, for her students and colleagues. She left for her heavenly abode on February 18, 2020. Her passing signals the end of an era and the loss of an exemplary and iconic human being.
Dr. Misra was also a devoted wife and mother. She was married to Dr. N. C. Misra, the renowned cancer surgeon. She is survived by her son Dr. Sanjeev Misra, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and daughter Dr. Sumita Misra, senior IAS officer of the Government of India.
31 December 2020 (online)
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