Sobre Dr. Shelly Batra:
I believe in Shakespeare when he said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
I believe that one can bring about a change by acting as a catalyst. There are a lot of things that exist disparately, which, when combined at the right time by the right people, can create a revolution.
I have worked as a medical specialist for several years. Over the years, I have witnessed every kind of human misery. I have worked under challenging conditions in understaffed, overcrowded public hospitals, where life was a constant war against infection and anemia. I have even performed emergency Caesarian sections by candlelight! My heart would go out to those who suffer disease. The worst cases were those where because of an ailment, indignities would be heaped upon the patient, and social discrimination would raise its ugly head. These were truly those who suffer, for they would have no food, no shelter, no family, no treatment, only pain and suffering.
I am a changemaker because I have had the courage to step out of my ivory tower and use my medical expertise to serve community health needs. As a highly placed surgeon, I can very well stay cocooned in the comfort and luxury of upscale, air-conditioned tertiary care hospitals,and earn huge amounts of money. I am a changemaker because I can pick the right people to join me, so we combine our strengths for best results. Operation ASHA was founded by 2 persons, we are both from entirely different backgrounds , and we complement each other’s skills. By visiting slums, talking to patients, interacting with physicians and slum dwellers and government officials, by slowly gaining experience over a period of several years, an idea germinated. We can revolutionise tuberculosis treatment by ensuring accessibility and education, and both are equally important. An informed patient, who has been educated about his illness, is able to participate actively in the treatment, with the help of family and community, so as get the best results with least side-effects.
I am a changemaker because I can speak eloquently and with all my heart, and when I speak, people do listen, and more and more people join my organisation, like a snowball gathering momentum, which itself makes a tremendous difference. I believe in serving the needy, and caste, creed or religion do not matter to me. It is people and patients who matter.
I am a changemaker also because I have the ability to recognise opportunity .When I found that there is tremendous need in Tuberculosis, with 2 million new cases in India each year,all suffering illness and loss of jobs and discrimination,I was horrified. But when I found out that tuberculosis is one of the United Nations Millenium development goals, so there is a huge infrastructure built by the government and WHO, providing free diagnostics and free medicines which are 80% of the cost, I realised that this is a heaven-sent opportunity for me to maximise my potential.I can leverage my efforts and investment sevral times over,and I can help and treat a large number of patients with a minimum amount of money.
Ultimately what makes me a changemaker is a combination of things. It is kindness and compassion and resourcefulness and education, all together with my ability to motivate passionate and enthusiastic people who excel in fields which are very different from my own, and bring them together as a strong and committed team.
My hometown, lucknow, and my school, La Martiniere, are so dear to my heart.
I have had a very happy childhood . My parents are highly educated and enlightened individuals, who believed that doing good deeds is more important than visiting a temple. They lived a life of simplicity, without ostentation. There was never too much money in the house, but it never made any difference.My sisters and I never had mountains of clothes or fancy things, but we had the best education in the best school,and plenty of friends and loving relatives. and we always had money to buy books.
I remember loving Enid Blyton as a child, Oh how I loved Noddy and Tessie Bear and Mr Plod!Later I graduated to P G Wodehouse and Agatha Cristie and Georgette Heyer and Irving Stone and Somerset Maugham, and so many others. My English teacher, Mrs Maclure, whom I loved deeply, inculcated in me a love for the English language.I read Keats and Byron and Tennyson and Frost and Dickens and the Bard-of-Avon. I was mesmerised with the magic of words,drunk on the elixir of poetry and lost in the realms of fancy.
All this changed suddenly when I joined medical school, again in lucknow.I was all of a sudden in a state of shock, In my entire sheltered life I had not imagined such misery, or to what depths of degradation a human being can sink.The first few years were a nightmare, though the studies were exciting, and human body the most fascinating thing invented.Life was a blur of cadavers and dissection and the stink of formalin, and later wards and operating rooms and the smell of blood and the stench of disease everywhere.I remember not getting enough sleep, not having time to eat, a constant fear in the pit of my stomach,losing weight, losing heart, and an all-pervading feeling of hoplessness when I would see wards crammed with sick people, often destitute, usually very poor,and very often ill-treated by their own family members. Among all this was a feeling that I have made the right decision, I am on the right track.
Yes lucknow gave me everything.A loving family, loving friends, and lots of happiness as a child, and later the medical skills I badly needed to fulfill my goal in life.
Life has not been easy. It is never easy. But there is a Light that leads me on, and my courage does not fail, my steps do not falter.
I want a lot of changes. I want kindness in this world, so that children and the elderly and the sick are treated with compassion.I want a world free of senseless brutality, free of terrorism and needless acts of violence in the name of religion. I want less of wastage, so that food is distributed to the hungry rather than being thrown away. I want a world where the 'haves' understand the plight of the 'have-nots' and do not turn a blind eye to the needs of others. I want a world free from things which can be cured or prevented, which means a sharp decline in maternal and infant mortalities in the developing countries, and prompt diagnosis and management for millions of people suffering from curable diseases, especially those that are communicable, to stem the rising tide and spreading pandemics.
I did my MD from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, India in 1986, where I specialised in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Since 1990, I have been working as Senior Specialist (Obstetrics and Gynecology) & Advanced Laparoscopy Surgeon, at Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre, New Delhi, India.
I have taught a mini- course at University of Chicago, Harris SchoolofPublicPolicy,
Chicago, Illinois, USA, on “Global Health Issues – An Overall Panorama”
I was invited by Wellesley college last year to deliver the annual lecture of the “Hippocrates society- women in medicine” series, and have spoken at several national and international fora, including universities and hospitals.
I have been regularly carrying out Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery and other complicated gynecological surgeries, conducting deliveries or operating on High Risk pregnancy cases. My patients come from North India, Eastern India and neighboring countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, Dubai, and Sri Lanka.I deal with OBG emergencies round the clock, which means diagnosis and performing emergency surgery including life-threatening emergencies. I am actively involved in DNB teaching program, by giving lectures, providing hands-on training in wards and operating Rooms, and as guide for thesis work for Postgraduate medical students. For 20 years, I have been part of the hospital’s program for the needy, by way of free OPD consultations and surgeries.
I have always been interested in writing, and have published 2 books for Penguin. The first was The Intimate Self – a book of women’s sexual health, published by Penguin in 2000; reached the best seller list in the non-fiction category; received excellent reviews.
20 minutes to Total Fitness, was my 2nd book published by Penguin; 2001; the second edition was published in 2002; This was translated into many Indian languages and received rave reviews in all leading newspapers and magazines such as India Today, Outlook, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Asian Age and National Herald.
In 1997, I wrote an Award winning poem for Times of India, for a contest organized by British Tourist Authority, leading to an all expense paid trip to UK as a guest of the British Tourist Authority
For 5 years, I have regulary written a Weekly column called “Ask your Doc” in The Neighborhood Flash (a weekly newspaper with circulation exceeding 200,000) from 2000 to 2005.
I have contributed hundreds of articles on health topics for leading newspapers such as Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Deccan, Sahara, Navbharat Times (Hindi), and magazines such as Health and Longevity and Kadambini (Hindi).
I have recieved several medals and awards, some of which are :-
Exemplary Contribution Award, 2008 – given by the Indian Medical Association, for her outstanding contribution to the medical profession and society.
Award given by Honorable Health Minister, Shri Yoganand Shastri for excellent performance in TB control- Oct 2008
Abdullah Haji Omar Trophy for the best all-rounder student of KGMC in 1978,
University Book Prize for best academic performance in 1980,
Dr SS Khan Gold Medal for the best student of 1979,
University Merit scholarship -1979 to 1982,
Women’s scholarship for the best woman student 1977-1988.,
Abdullah Haji Omar Gold Medal for the best paper submitted to Journal of Anatomical Society
Best article for Journal of the Physiological society
M.C. Michael Gold Medal for best performance in Anatomy
Silver medal and Certificate of Honor for best performance in Physiology
Certificate of Honor for best performance in Forensic medicine
Silver medal and Certificate of Honor for best performance in Ophthalmology
Certificate of Honor for best performance in Internal Medicine
Certificate of Honor for best performance in Surgery
TV and Radio appearances:-
I was interviewed on WorldView program, Chicago,USA, of National Public Radio (WBEZ) on 9.20.07. It was adjudged a top program of 2007 and aired again on 12.18.07. I was interviewed once again on 2.21.08.
Over the past 2 years, I have delivered several talks for satellite radio XM ReachMD 157 MHz. ( US)
I was interviewed on TV ASIA broadcast in US and Canada on 3.6.08 and April 2009.
The turning point in my career came in 2006, when I incorporated Operation ASHA in India and started work in tuberculosis. Prior to that, I had been working in the slums on New Delhi for almost 15 years,providing medical help to the disadvantaged communities. I would carry out free consultations, and then utilise my network with other specialists, Nursing homes, hospitals, pathologists and radiologists and pharamceutical companies to provide free diagnostics, free medicines and services. Thus I was able to treat hundreds of patients and perform at least 60-80 free surgeries for needy patients each year . More than a decade of working with slum dwellers gave me plenty of relevant experience and knowledge,so that I could clearly understand the challenges of working in such a needy environment, and focus on the path ahead.