At least seven Indian Americans were elected as new members by the National Academy of Medicine.
The National Academy of Medicine announced the new members in an Oct. 21 news release, naming 90 regular members and 10 international members during its annual meeting.
Among those elected to the academy were Drs. Nita Ahuja, Vineet Arora, Sangeeta Bhatia, Tejal Kanti Gandhi, Sanjay K. Gupta, Rainu Kaushal and Anil K. Rustgi.
Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service, the academy said.
“These newly elected members represent the most exceptional scholars and leaders whose remarkable work has advanced science, medicine, and health in the U.S. and around the globe,” National Academy of Medicine president Victor J. Dzau said in a statement.
“Their expertise will be vital to addressing today’s most pressing health and scientific challenges and informing the future of health and medicine for the benefit of us all. I am honored to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine,” added Dzau.
Ahuja is the William H. Carmalt Professor of Surgery and chair in the department of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine.
She was named a member “for changing our understanding of the cells of origin in multiple tumor types, and the role of epigenetic dysregulation in gastrointestinal cancers, leading to the development of biomarkers for early detection of colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and epigenetic therapeutics.”
Arora is a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. The Indian American was named “for pioneering work to optimize resident fatigue and patient safety during long shifts, which informed the Institute of Medicine’s 2009 report and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s 2011 duty hours restrictions.”
Bhatia is the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was named “for pioneering small-scale technologies to interface cells with synthetic platforms, with applications in liver tissue regeneration, diagnostics, and cancer therapy, and developing human microlivers that model drug metabolism and liver disease, achieving novel high-throughput models for diseases such as hepatitis C and human malaria.”
Gandhi, the chief clinical and safety officer at the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, was named “for leadership in the fields of patient safety and quality, and wide-ranging influence in the field through thought leadership, research, and educational efforts.”
Gupta, an associate chief of neurosurgery at the Grady Memorial Hospital; associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine; and chief medical correspondent for CNN, was named “for helping the public understand the causes, impact, and management of myriad medical and public health challenges, and bridging the gap of health care knowledge by redefining our public discourse.”
Kaushal is the Nanette Laitman Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and chair, department of health care policy and research, Weill Cornell Medicine; and physician-in-chief, Healthcare Policy and Research, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Kaushal was named
“for leadership on the quality, safety, and personalization of health care with expertise in patient safety, health information technology and exchange, and social determinant integration in health care delivery.”
Rustgi is the Irving Professor of Medicine and director at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and associate dean of oncology, department of medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He was named “for illuminating the importance of GI cancers genomics and genetics and demonstrating that p120-catenin, part of the adherens junctions, is a tumor suppressor gene in cancers and the first to link p120-catenin to mesenchymal-epithelial transition in tumor metastasis, advancing therapeutic opportunities.”
New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.
The newly elected members bring NAM’s total membership to more than 2,200 and the number of international members to approximately 180.
Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors.
NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding. With their election, NAM members make a commitment to volunteer their service in National Academies activities, the press release said.