Sunday, 8 November 2009

Indian doctors: Hall of fame - Part 12: Prof Jatin P Shah, head and neck surgery expert

By Syed Akbar
Head and neck surgery is a highly specialised art of medicine. Given the most important and sensitive organs they contain, many doctors shudder at the very thought of specialising in it. But Professor Jatin P Shah feels quite at ease as he scalpels through the head and neck of his patients with 100 per cent success.
Today he is arguably the best Indian doctor and authority in the field of head and neck surgery in the West. But Prof Jatin Shah is full of humility when he refuses to accept it. "One should never consider as being on "top of the field" since it implies that further growth has stopped. I believe one should continue to strive to be at the top of the field throughout one’s active life" he points out.
That Prof Jatin Shah takes head and neck surgery with a passion is evident when he confides, "it is not work for me but it is simply joy and pleasure and it is my means of recreation and relaxation. Thus, it is my life and soul."

Prof Jatin Shah graduated from the medical college of MS University in Vadodara, and received his training in surgical oncology and head and neck surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is a national and international leader in the field of head and neck surgery. Ask him why he has chosen oncology (cancer), he says "I had also a personal reason for getting attracted to this field since I lost my father to lung cancer".
He founded The International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies, in 1986. He received many international awards including honorary fellowships from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh,
London and Australia. But he likes to share credit with his vast team, which includes expert cancer surgeons, specialist-scientists and paramedical staff.
Explaining why Indians excel outside, Prof Jatin Shah observes, "when we move to the more affluent western world, which offers an environment conducive to productivity, and creates a milieu for one to be creative and
productive, we seize the opportunity and excel". The combination of excellent education, outstanding work ethics and sheer hard work has led numerous Indians to perform brilliantly.
Prof Jatin Shah is a much sought-after speaker with visiting professorships in 32 countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and China. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, and world leadership in head and neck surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has established "Jatin Shah Chair in Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology".
And what the Professor does when he is free? "Head and neck surgery is my pride and passion. Thus, it occupies my mind and my body."

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