A brief history of Department of Medicine (1948-2020)
As Berry White Medical School (Est. 1900) was upgraded to Assam Medical College and Hospital on 3rd November, 1947, a new era of Medical Education started in North East India. It was in 1948, that the Department of Medicine was set up under the leadership of Prof P. N. Taneja, MD, MRCP, DCH (Head of Department 1948-52), followed by Prof B.H.P. Pai, (HOD 1952-56) (Retired Professor of Madras Medical College) and Prof M.V. Chari (HOD 1956-60). Post Graduate courses were introduced in 1960 under the leadership of Prof M.N. Bhattacharyya (HOD 1960-75) and the first batch of post graduate students qualified in 1963. With a humble beginning of 12 graduate students who qualified in MBBS in May,1952, 22 in December,1952 and 2 post graduate students who qualified as MD Medicine in 1963, we have more now than 200 numbers of MBBS graduates yearly and 25 numbers of MD Medicine student enrol each year.
The Department of Medicine flourished in the 70’s and 80’s under the guidance of Prof A.M.Rahman, MRCP (Edinburgh), Prof B.M. Goswami, FRCS,FICA, FIAMS, Prof D.N.Chakraborty and Prof D.N.Patwari, who were all trained abroad and emphasised on Bedside clinics. In the two tenures of headship of Prof H.P Baruah, MBBS, FRCP, FICP, FCCP, FIAMS (1988-90, 1992-94), a legendary teacher and physician, the department reached new heights of recognition and stature. It was at this time that API (Association of Physicians of India), Assam Chapter was established. The virtues and tradition set in those days became the backbone of the department and was further taken ahead by two personalities who were MD Medicine from AMCH and further trained in UK, namely Prof M.C. Dutta (1994-96) and Prof B. Doley (1996-2006).
The new millennium brought new change in the department and the old buildings were slowly being replaced by a single new structure. Finally, the department shifted to the new MEDICINE COMPLEX building in 2006. Prof G.N.Gogoi (HOD 2006-2007), Prof B. Laskar (2007-2008) and Prof R.K.Kotokey (2009-2012) took the department towards new direction. It was in 2008 that an eight bedded ICU, exclusive for the Medicine, was started in the department ground floor of Medicine Complex. It was fully equipped with Ventilators, defibrillators and all other equipments needed for critical care. The number of post graduate seats also increased to ten (which gradually increased from four in 1960 to 10 in 2010, over a period of 50 years).
This was followed by a new dawn in the history of the department in three major fields of academics, research and infrastructure. In the first tenure (2012-2015) of headship of Prof Sanjeeb Kakati, the first MCI Inspection of Post Graduate studies took place after its inception in 1960. It was after this MCI Inspection that the numbers of post graduate seats were increased to twenty three. The seats were further increased to twenty five in 2020 in his second term, when for the first time an online MCI inspection was done in this Medical College. Not only post graduate, but undergraduate seats were also increased to 200 after MCI inspection. This department started pioneering work in the field of Rheumatology and brought the concept, patient care, academics and research in the north east India under the leadership of Prof Sanjeeb Kakati. This department has organized two east zone rheumatology conferences. Eight super specialists (DM) in the field of rheumatology have their roots in this department. Similarly a large number of post graduate students, who have passed from this department has become DM in various fields. Over the last 72 years the Department of Medicine has evolved tremendously with seven independent Units, Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology departments and Geriatric ward and 60 bedded Critical Care ICU. It has also several super-speciality OPDs running like Rheumatology Clinic, Diabetes Clinic, Hepatology Clinic and Haematology Clinic on special weekdays. The academic atmosphere is very much enriched with regular Seminars, Journal Clubs, Case presentations, Quiz, Interdisciplinary meets, Death reviews and Integrated Classes. Several national and state level Conferences have been organised by the Department of Medicine. The Department also houses the Headquarters of API Assam Chapter and has organized several API conferences. Prof Sanjeeb Kakati also started as an Edited of the official publication of API Assam Chapter “Assam Journal of Internal Medicine” in 2011 and this has been regularly published biannually since. This Journal has been a torch bearer in the field of research publications from all of north east India and large number of citations to its name, increasing the impact value steadily every year.
With the beginning of Young Diabetes Registry (YDR), the Department of Medicine started to show tremendous growth in the field of research work in Upper Assam. It is the longest running Government funded research project in Assam which has changed the outlook of phenotype of young diabetes in India. This has also given birth to several other ICMR funded projects to study the phenotype of young type 2 diabetes and study the new born birth weight and neuro-cognitive development in relation to blood sugar in parents. A dedicated Immunology Laboratory was set up with DBT grant with two fluorescent microscopes. This has led to tremendous research work and numerous publications in the field of Rheumatology over the last few years. There has been a lot of research work in the field of Hepatology and Gastroenterology under the leadership of Prof A.K.Das (HOD 2015-2018). A number of DBT and ICMR funder projects have been undergoing in this department and several post graduate students have passed from this Department to become DM in the gastroenterology. Other faculties of the department were also encouraged to take up research work and the large number of publication during the recent years is a testament for this research oriented outlook of Prof S. Kakati and Prof A.K.Das. The ART Centre was set up and has been a life line with people with HIV in Upper Assam. A Haemophilia Treatment Centre was also setup in AMCH with all required infrastructure (Refrigerators, physiotherapy equipments, dedicated rooms) and all the persons with rare bleeding disorders were registered for proper care. The department procured new instruments like two colour Doppler Ultarsonography machines, Upper GI Endoscope, Bone Mineral densitometry (DEXA), -80 degree refrigerators.
The second term of Prof Sanjeeb Kakati (2018-present) has seen a tremendous change in the infrastructure of the department. The 60 bedded ICU, initially meant for Japanese Encephalities patients was finally inaugurated and played a pivotal role in the management of COVID-19 pandemic in recent times. The 10 bedded geriatric ward was improved and the already existing 8 bedded Medicine ICU was upgraded with newer ventilators and many new machineries. The Departmental Library was upgraded with a large stock of new text books and Journals. With changing times and digitization of the world, internet facility in the department was started with free WiFi for all faculties and students of the department. Keeping with the new era of paper free world, an e-library was set up in the department which became the backbone of on-line classes and on-line MCI inspection in 2020. Infectious disease surveillance Program (IDSP) Office, which was set up for monitoring of infectious disease became the main office of COVID-19 management, regulating thousands of admissions, discharges and death review. Diabetes research lab with Anthropometric study facilities, DEXA room, Departmental museum and renovation of Faculty rooms were taken place during this period.
HOD’s of the Department of Medicine
- Dr. P. N. Taneja (1948-1952)
- Dr. B.H.P. Pai (1952-1956)
- Dr. M. V. Chari (1956-1960)
- Dr. M. N. Bhattacharyya (1960-1975)
- Dr. A. M. Rahman (1976-1984)
- Dr. D. M. Goswami (1985-1986)
- Dr. D. N. Chakraborty (1986-1988)
- Dr. H. P. Baruah (1988-1990/1992-94)
- Dr. D. N. Patowary (1991-1992)
- Dr. M. C. Dutta (1994-1996)
- Dr. B. Doley (1996-2006)
- Dr. G. N. Gogoi (2006-2007)
- Dr. B. Laskar (2007-2008)
- Dr. R. K. Kotokey (2009-2012)
- Dr. S. Kakati (2012-2015)
- Dr. A. K. Das (2016-2018)
- Dr. S. Kakati (2018-2021)