Dr. Navin Nanda, father of modern echocardiography, honored in book on VP Kamala Harris

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Dr. Navin Nanda. Photo: Provided by Dr. Nanda

Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Navin C. Nanda, considered as the Father of Modern Echocardiography was  quoted in a recently published book “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans” edited by Tarun Basu.

Nationally and internationally acclaimed, Dr. Nanda’s prolific research and continuing innovations have led to the development of echocardiography as a central diagnostic tool in modern cardiology and dramatically changed the way cardiology is practiced today.

According to a press release, among many other innumerable pioneering contributions, his group  was the first to identify the pulmonary valve by echocardiography which resulted in the development of pediatric echocardiography, developed the clinical technique of 3-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography which has today become the cornerstone of repairing and  replacing diseased cardiac valves in the cardiac catheterization laboratory without recourse to  surgery, invented the treadmill exercise echocardiography most commonly used to detect coronary artery disease non-invasively, pioneered three and four dimensional echocardiography and the use of echocardiography in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology, and introduced and advanced the use of color Doppler technology in the USA and internationally.

The color Doppler techniques have revolutionized the diagnosis and assessment of cardiac valve leaks (regurgitation) by preventing the use of invasive cardiac catheterization in most patients.

In addition, his group was the first to identify by echocardiography transposition of the great vessels in the newborn, potentially saving the lives of many babies born with cyanosis, and, he was the first to identify a congenital bicuspid aortic valve by echocardiography.

His group also pioneered the use of color Doppler and three/four-dimensional echocardiography in diagnosing cardiac abnormalities in the human fetus.

The Bulgarian Foundation of Cardiovascular Imaging aptly cited him for “phenomenal accomplishments in all three fields of echocardiography: adult, pediatric and fetal.”

Concerned with the demographic differences in the cardiac disorders, Dr. Nanda, while a resident at Seth G.S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai (where he did his MBBS and MD before proceeding to the Institute of Cardiology and National Heart Hospital in London for further training in Cardiology), was the first to demonstrate high incidence of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in young adults in India and relationship of diabetes mellitus to myocardial infarction (heart attack). The latter was published in the New England Journal of Medicine with an accompanying editorial citing it as the “most thorough study of an Asiatic population”.

A prolific scholar, he has published over 1,000 scientific publications ( over 525 original), 13 books on echocardiography and cardiology, several translated into Italian, French, German and Turkish languages. He has served as the President of USA’s Society of Geriatric Cardiology and also as Editor-in- Chief of the Journal Echocardiography, the first Journal in the world on echocardiography, for a record period of 32 years.

As a master of his profession, Dr. Nanda has been and continues to be an outstanding teacher and mentor, training thousands of cardiologists in the United States and abroad, especially India where the Association of Physicians of India declared  Your efforts have contributed in a major way to the growth and development of medicine, particularly cardiology, in India.  No other outside physician has done so much for India in recent times.”

In recognition of his achievements and services, he has been honored around the world by many countries including France, China, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, Bangladesh, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Mexico and United Arab Emirates, to name a few.

Numerous professional societies have recognized him as a Father of Echocardiography/Modern Echocardiography, and  universities have conferred on him their highest academic recognition, the honorary DSc degrees.

In USA, he has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (the highest civilian award to immigrants), Life Time Achievement Award by the American Society of Echocardiography and the International Award by the American College of Cardiology “for outstanding contributions to cardiovascular medicine and science and for significantly enhancing cardiovascular care throughout the world and for being a role model for others to follow in his footsteps.”

He was also the first recipient of the Tufts University (Boston) award in echocardiography.

The Navin Nanda Endowed Scholar Award has also been established by the University of Alabama at Birmingham in his honor.

He was cited by the Chinese Society of Ultrasound in Medicine as the “World’s best echocardiographer” and honored by them for introducing the pulsed Doppler technology to China.  In India, he has received in the past the Life Time Achievement Award by the Government of India and more recently “Icon of the Century in Echocardiography and Cardiology in the World” presented by the Government of India through its Ministry of Health and quoted in the current book on Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Two Institutes in India have been named after him. The Dr. Navin C. Nanda Institute of Excellence in Cardiovascular Ultrasound  was established in Nashik city, Maharashtra and the Dr. Navin C. Nanda Echocardiography, Emergency Medicine and Paramedics Training Institute, established in Jaipur, Rajasthan, where his bust has  been placed at the entrance. In addition, the Navin C. Nanda Young Investigator Award has also been established by the Cardiological Society  of India and is given every year. He has also received “Prince of Echocardiography” Award from Italy, “Citizen of Rome”  award from the Mayor of Rome and the Andreas Gruntzig Award from the Swiss Society of Cardiology. The Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Emirates Cardiac Society honored him as “Echocardiographer of the Millenium” and “Friend of Bangladesh” award was given him by  the Minister of Health.

Dr. Nanda was brought into the American Association of Physicians of India by his mentor Dr. Jagan Kakarala as its President-Elect and then as President when the Association was at cross-roads to help unite various factions and was instrumental in helping legally incorporate the Association as well as revising its Constitution and establishing the Board of Trustees. He worked, among others, with Dr. Sudhir Parikh to popularize and advance the aims of the organization and re-establish cordial relations with the American Medical Association. Dr. Nanda also founded the American Association of Cardiologists of Indian Origin which with its much larger membership than AAPI at that time served to boost and strengthen the parent organization. Dr. Nanda together with Dr. Naresh Parikh in Atlanta, Georgia, led a mammoth task of organizing the first ever large-scale survey of Asian Indians settled in the USA for the prevalence of various diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease and found the prevalence of these diseases much higher than in other ethnic groups in U.S. and higher than in Indians living in India.

Dr. Nanda also received the Bridge Award from USA’s , Association of Black Cardiologists for “building bridges across cultures, particularly among African American and Asian Indian cardiologists.”

His community services have included stints as the President of the Indian Cultural Association of Birmingham,  President of the Alabama  Chapter of the Indo-American Forum for Political Education, President of the Alabama-India Business Partnership and an  award from Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Atlanta, Georgia, for “outstanding service to the community”.

Dr. Robert Gatewood, one of the eminent Cardiologists he has trained wrote “Over the past 40 years he has been not only my mentor and inspiration but also my good friend and confidant.  His energy is endless and his curiosity contagious.  He continues to explore the boundaries of cardiac ultrasound while steadfastly demanding quality and integrity in his research. Equally important has been his global vision.  Dr. Nanda has encouraged and facilitated cross pollination of ideas and collaboration in research.  His teaching conferences typically include a diverse faculty and audience.  He has brought us together from all corners of the world in the pursuit of knowledge and innovation.  Dr. Nanda will forever stand as a pioneer, a true icon, in the field of echocardiography.  His imprint is indelible. His impact immeasurable.”

 

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