The National Advisory Committee (NAC) for NBC-6 consists of experts from various disciplines who have engaged with the issues of palliative care, end-of-life care, and euthanasia.
Dr M R Rajagopal
Dr M R Rajagopal is a leading palliative care physician from India who, for more than 20 years, has battled the conditions that cause patients to suffer severe pain unnecessarily. Alternately wearing the hats of clinician, academic, and activist, he is a major global force behind efforts to promote and put into practice the right of patients with severe pain to live and die with dignity.
In 2012, Dr Rajagopal's medical institution, the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences, became a World Health Organisation Collaborating Center for Policy and Training on Access to Pain Relief.
The contributions made by Dr Rajagopal and Pallium India led the Indian Government to create the National Program for Palliative Care in 2012 and persuaded the Indian Parliament to reform the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act in 2014.
Dr R K Mani is CEO (Medical) and Chairman (Pulmonology), Department of Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Nayati Multi-Super-Specialty Hospital, Nayati Group of Hospitals, Mathura. He is widely recognised as a champion of many innovative therapies and clinical concepts in critical care and pulmonology and sleep medicine. In 1991 he was the first to introduce and popularize the use of noninvasive ventilator support in the country.
Dr Mani is a former president of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine and currently the Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine. He has published close to 50 articles. He is best known for his seminal work on the ethical and legal issues around end-of-life care for the critically ill. He recently contributed to the development of quality indices of end-of-life care for certification by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals.
Dr Raj Kumar Mani
Dr Soumya Swaminathan
Dr Soumya Swaminathan is Secretary, Department of Health Research in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and Director General of the ICMR. Prior to this assignment, she was Director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.
Dr Swaminathan joined the Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai in 1992 and has been in health research since then. Her research interests include paediatric and adult tuberculosis, epidemiology and pathogenesis, the role of nutrition, and HIV-associated TB. She served for two years as Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Diseases, in the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, WHO. She holds many professional memberships internationally and nationally, such as in the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, and the Third World Organization of Women Scientists. She serves on the UNAIDS Expert Panel and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of WHO Stop TB. In addition, she serves on committees of the health ministry and national institutes and is a Fellow of three of India's science academies.
Dr Sundar Sarukkai is trained in physics and philosophy, and has a PhD from Purdue University, USA. His research interests include the philosophy of science and mathematics, phenomenology, and the philosophy of language and art, drawing on both Indian and Western philosophical traditions. He has written numerous papers, in addition to which he is the author of a number of books: Translating the World: Science and Language; Philosophy of Symmetry; Indian Philosophy and Philosophy of Science; What is Science? (National Book Trust), and The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory (Oxford University Press, co-authored with Gopal Guru).
Dr Sarukkai is an Editorial Advisory Board member of the Leonardo Book Series published by MIT Press, USA; the Series Editor for Science and Technology Studies, Routledge, and Chief Editor for the Springer Handbook on Logic in India. He was at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, from 1994 to 2009, after which he founded the Manipal Centre for Philosophy & Humanities, Manipal University, India, where he was its Director from 2010 to 2015.
Dr Sundar Sarukkai
Dr Thelma Narayan
Dr Thelma Narayan is an epidemiologist, health policy analyst and activist who coordinates CPHE and is director of SOCHARA School of Public Health Equity and Action (SOPHEA). She is one of the original co-initiators of Community Health Cell (CHC). Dr. Thelma Narayan currently works with various national health initiatives including the National Rural Health Mission and the National Health System Resource Centre. She was a member of the Task Force on Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka and has evolved public health and primary health care oriented state health policies in Karnataka and Orissa. She was a member of the Measurement and Evidence Knowledge Network of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. She is an active member of the People's Health Movement network and was the joint convener of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (PHM India) till recently. She is also a contributor to the Global Health Watch and a faculty member of the International People's Health University. She will be moving on from the position of Secretary, SOCHARA from end September 2016, however she will continue to work with SOPHEA.
Dr Vasantha Muthuswamy worked for 30 years in various capacities and retired as the Senior Deputy Director General and Chief of the Division of Basic Medical Sciences, Traditional Medicine and Bioethics, and the Division of Reproductive Health and Nutrition, of the Indian Council of Medical Research.
A visiting fellowship at the Kennedy Institute for Ethics at Georgetown University, USA, in 1997, initiated her into the field of Bioethics; since then, she is acknowledged for her definitive contribution to the development of this subject in India.
Dr Muthuswamy is recognised internationally as the force behind the ICMR's Ethical guidelines for biomedical research on human subjects in 2000, and the revised version in 2006. The guidelines are a landmark document, in the country, for guidance on ethics review. She is currently President of the Forum for Ethics Review Committees in India (FERCI) and Advisor, Centre for Research and Bioethics, at the PSG Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Coimbatore.
Dr Vasantha Muthuswamy
Vidyatai Bal is a Marathi writer and editor from Maharashtra, India. She has been a social activist particularly in the area of equalisation of the social status of women vis-à-vis men in India. She is a founder-member of the Pune-based organisations Nari Samata Manch and Miloon Saryajani, and has worked across the state on several issues related to empowerment of women. Vidyatai's contribution as an editor, a writer and a feminist spans over five decades.