Testimonials from Traveling Fellows

Testimonials from 2017 Fellows

Dr. Bibekanand Jindal

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee

“My experience with this Traveling Fellowship was very good with exposure to tumor board meetings, many port insertions and removals, witnessing high skilled surgical procedures like nephron sparing surgery for bilateral Wilms tumor, adrenalectomy for neuroblastoma in the hands of world expert, limb sparing surgery for osteosarcoma and pulmonary metastectomy, and other new techniques over this short period. I was able to watch the finer details and discussed the critical points and learn the technique of nephron sparing surgery- enucleation in case of bilateral Wilms tumor. The technique of NSS which I have learnt is definitely going to help me in performing NSS here. Near total excision of NB mass (mass was encasing left renal artery, vein and closely adherent/invasion to left kidney)- in piece meal with preservation left kidney after a placing the self- retaining Thompson retractor and mobilizing the pancreas, spleen along with the left colon in-toto to retract it medially helping a lot to completely expose the mass and the left kidney. Attended tumor board meetings and actively took part in many case discussions. which was very helpful in treatment planning and knowledge enhancement. We have also initiated the multidisciplinary Pediatric Surgical tumor board meeting at JIPMER and experiencing a lot of interest among residents and faculty of all stake holders. The meticulous precaution for asepsis they take care during port insertion and removal is quite phenomenal and a things to learn. Apart from the knowledge and surgical skills gained during this fellowship, I had the opportunity to interact with Dr Davidoff, Dr. Murphy and Dr Fernandez and discuss lot of issues related to Pediatric Solid tumor. The other thing learnt was the way the doctor and other staff talk and explains to the parents and the patients about the disease and its process.”

Dr. Ashok Das

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, New York

“It was a great experience in all aspects of the Fellowship, whether it was the arrangement of the whole journey or the experience at the host institute. I wanted to visit and observe the working culture of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from where most of the evidences come for management of Head and Neck cancer, which is the number one cancer in India. It was amazing to observe the decision-making for treatment for each patient, which we truly can say the personalized medicine practice. I observed multi disciplinary treatment modality in proper way. Also the surgical skill I observed in my stay at MSKCC is best because a huge number of post-operative patients were discharged from the hospital the same day.  It was a proud moment in my life to complete a month Fellowship with the legendary Dr. Jatin Shah. ”

Dr. Swati Pai

Houston Methodist, Houston, Texas

“I was awarded the IACA Travel Fellowship for 2017. Right from the time of applying to the time I returned, the IACA was extremely helpful. I am a hematopathologist and my mentor Dr. Swami Iyer helped me find an excellent Lab at Houston Methodist where I could spend time learning all aspects of Laboratory Hematology especially in-house molecular testing. I also learnt to fine tune and troubleshoot IHC and immunophenotyping especially for Lymphomas. Since my return, I have been able to set all the protocols I learnt and have already validated and standardized a few molecular assays – we no longer outsource them. I am extremely grateful to the IACA for this wonderful opportunity and I think it’s the duty of every recipient to implement all that the IACA Fellowship helps us learn for better patient care back home in India.”

Testimonials from 2016 Fellows

Dr. Vivek Mangla

City of Hope, Duarte, California

“IACA’ s Traveling Fellowship is a great opportunity for physicians and surgeons trying to improve cancer care in their respective institutions. I must admit that I learnt quite a lot about not only my intended area of learning but also about lots of recent advances in multidisciplinary management of gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary cancers. There was a lot to learn from the surgeons I observed during my Fellowship and I am thankful to each one of them.

I would like to highlight that the most important benefit was that it made me see management of patients with cancer in a whole new light. Of note, I imbibed two basic principles (probably a bit late, though definitely better late than never). I learnt that interventions for such patients need to be prioritized based on the site/sites of disease which are lethal and interventions which are directly aimed at these sites should be prioritized over treatment directed to other sites. Specific to my specialty, it has led me to critically review the indication of primary surgery in patients with advanced colorectal cancer and a significant change in how I manage these patients now. Secondly, I have imbibed that after survival, the second most important issue pertains to quality of life and these are extremely important in determining optimum interventions. After coming back to my parent institution, I have been able to incorporate a lot of what I learnt into my practice.”

Dr. Franky Shah

MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

“This fellowship was an excellent experience for learning high throughput genomic techniques of current molecular era that has tremendous utility from diagnosis to personalized medicine. This exposure has boosted my confidence in handling these techniques thoroughly and we have initiated implementation of certain protocols into the practice for the molecular diagnostics of our patients.

For me, this fellowship leads me towards my “4D”: Dream –Desire-Dedication-Development!

Thank you, IACA!”

Testimonials from 2015 Fellow

Dr. Nishant Verma

City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California

“The Travelling Fellowship Program being run by IACA is an excellent initiative for physicians from developing countries like India. It provided me an opportunity to see how the US health care system works and how a child with cancer should be managed ideally. I was thrilled when I first got the news that I have been selected for this fellowship at City of Hope Medical center, Duarte, California under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Rosenthal and Dr. Clarke Anderson. During the 45days of my observership I learned many new things. I saw the importance of teamwork in patient care and management. I was impressed when I saw Dieticians, Pharmacists, and Nurses participating in the rounds with the physicians and residents. In India, at most of the places including mine, the daily rounds are ‘Doctors only’ affair. The participation of diverse specialties in the rounds help in making better decisions. I also saw the professionalism, punctuality and work ethics of all the staff. At all the places where I worked during this fellowship, I found the staff extremely helpful and the work environment was jovial. During this fellowship I learned about the latest protocols for management of childhood cancers and have started using them at my hospital. This fellowship provided me the confidence for managing various childhood cancers. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Sewa S. Legha and his team – specifically to Ms. Faeeza Faruq, for selecting me for the Fellowship Program and making this Fellowship a truly memorable and useful one.”

Testimonials from 2014 Fellows

Dr. Priya Kumari

St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee

“The entire fellowship experience was excellent and I came back full of positive energy and better knowledge. The skills acquired at SJCRH will definitely help me manage not only the pediatric ALL patients for which my fellowship proposal was submitted, but the entire pediatric oncology patients back in my home institution in a much better way than before. Thank you IACA.”

Dr. Sadashivudu Gundeti

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

With the courtesy of IACA, I got a chance as observer in the BMT program in the worldwide acclaimed, Cleveland clinic, Taussig Cancer Institute Dept. of Hematology/ Oncology under the mentorship of Dr. Navneet Majhail. He designed my observership program in such a way that would cover all aspects of BMT program. After visiting this center, I gained confidence in the BMT services. Definitely I will start doing allogeneic transplantations at an affordable cost in our Institute and motivate my colleagues to apply for this fellowship.

Testimonials from 2013 Fellows

Dr. Nagesh Madnoorkar

MD Anderson Cancer Center

The first and the foremost benefit, which I directly attribute to the Fellowship Program is the increased confidence level with which I now perform Thoracic Surgeries, and have already started implementing evidence based management in my clinical practice. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Sewa S. Legha, MD, and his team – specifically to Dr. Kirti Jain M.D., President. The dedication with which everyone at IACA pursue their mission, viz: “To be a conduit for exchange of ideas and goodwill, and provide a forum for scientific, educational, cultural, charitable and social interaction among them” is simply contagious. I also thank Ms. Mary Gauwitz, for her guidance and support during the Fellowship Program.

Dr. Pooja Patel

Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, California

Dr. Patel with doctors at Kaiser Permanente

“Under this Traveling Fellowship Fellowship program, I got a wonderful opportunity to learn newer brachytherapy techniques for various malignancies like gynecological cancers, prostate cancers and head and neck cancers. The knowledge gained through this valuable IACA Fellowship program will definitely benefit in better understanding of the technology giving maximum benefit to my patients and bringing knowledge to the medical community here. I am proud to have been an IACA Fellow for the year 2013 and thank and congratulate the entire team of IACA for giving this appreciable opportunity to budding oncologists like me.”

Testimonials from 2008 Fellow

Dr. Chandramohan Krishnan Nair

University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, John Wayne Cancer Hospital 

“It was a privilege to be an IACA Fellow for 2008 to undergo training in Sarcoma management in Los Angeles. My training was under Dr. Sant Chawla, a well known sarcoma expert. My training included observing clinics and operating rooms in the hospitals of University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC) and John Wayne Cancer hospital. I got the wonderful opportunity to observe sarcoma experts like Dr. Eilber (UCLA), and Dr. Menendez (USC) at close quarters. As part of the training I was able to attend multi-specialty meetings in all the three Institutes and was very much impressed by the systematic approach in treatment followed in all these centers. Moreover, UCLA and USC are the centers where a lot of sarcoma related researches are going on leading to the discovery of many advanced equipment and protocols, which are used in day-to-day medicine today.

For sarcoma treatment, the above-mentioned institutes apply most modern protocols including chemotherapy, radiation using cyber knife and limb salvage for extremity sarcomas. With these three modalities they achieve nearly 100% limb salvage for bone and soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities. I believe this training will help me a long way in improving the quality of sarcoma care in Kerala. This is more relevant in the context where most of the victims of sarcoma are young people for whom an amputation lowers quality of life and productivity significantly.

In India the number of qualified Surgical Oncologists is quite low and hence we surgeons find it difficult to limit themselves in treating single malignancy like sarcoma. We need to treat other cancers as well. During my training I got some guidance in sentinel node biopsy for melanoma and breast from Dr. Donald L. Morton and Armando Giuliano respectively, who themselves have described these procedures. I feel elated to be among the few surgeons worldwide who have got this precious opportunity.”

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