|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 124-126
Dr. Thara Rangaswamy
G Madhu Vamsi
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Nizamabad, Telangana, India
|Date of Submission||16-Jun-2022|
|Date of Decision||16-Aug-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||19-Aug-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||16-Dec-2022|
Dr. G Madhu Vamsi
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Nizamabad, Telangana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Dr. Thara is a one of the pioneer women psychiatrists in India. Along with Sarada Menon and S Rajakumar, she cofounded an nongovernmental organization, called Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), based in Chennai, India. She is currently the Vice Chairman of SCARF, which was previously held by Dr. Sarada Menon. She is a researcher in schizophrenia and community mental health. She is the editor of the book-Emergencies in Psychiatry in low- and middle-income countries. Her Madras Longitudinal Study which has followed up persons with first episode schizophrenia for 35 years and is one of its kinds in the world. She pioneered the use of mobile telepsychiatry to deliver high quality care for schizophrenia in resource-less rural communities. In 2022, she received the Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest civilian award for women, for creating awareness for mental disorders.
Keywords: Madras longitudinal study, schizophrenia, schizophrenia research foundation, telepsychiatry, Thara Rangaswamy, women in psychiatry
|How to cite this article:|
Vamsi G M. Dr. Thara Rangaswamy. Telangana J Psychiatry 2022;8:124-6
| Introduction|| |
Thara Rangaswamy (born May 25, 1953) is a renowned psychiatrist from India, the co-founder of a nongovernmental organization (NGO), called Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), based in Chennai, India. She is a researcher in schizophrenia and community mental health. In 2020, she received the Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award of Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS), an apex body for work on schizophrenia in Florence, Italy, at the 2021 Congress of the SIRS in Toronto, Canada.
| Education|| |
Dr. Rangaswamy completed her undergraduate medicine at Kilpauk Medical College and postgraduation in psychiatry from Madras Medical College. Her PhD on Disability in Schizophrenia was from the University of Madras in 1985. She received the Hon Fellowship in Psychiatry from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.
| Career|| |
Dr. Rangaswamy started her work as a senior research officer in the study sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research ”Factors affecting course and outcome of schizophrenia” at the Department of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College.
In 1984, she cofounded an NGO SCARF at Chennai, India along with Sarada Menon and S. Rajkumar. SCARF is a collaborating center of the WHO for mental health research. Between 1988 and 1990, she was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for her work in community mental health.
In 1990, she joined SCARF as a full-time psychiatrist and was the Director from 1996 to 2018. In 2018 June, she stepped down as Director and was named Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair, Research and Dementia Care. Passionate about disability issues, she lobbied a lot to include mental disability in the Persons with Disabilities Act in 1995. She was largely instrumental in the development of Indian Disability Evaluation and Assessment Scale, a measuring tool to assess mental disability. She is instrumental in linking with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations. She is the advisor on mental health issues to the Director General of WHO, Geneva and was a member of the Institute Body of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bengaluru, India.
| Research|| |
Dr. Rangaswamy's main research interests are in the course and outcome of schizophrenia, disability, community mental health, youth mental health, and dementia. Her Madras longitudinal study which has followed up persons with first episode schizophrenia for 35 years is one of its kinds in the world. She pioneered the use of mobile telepsychiatry to deliver high quality care for schizophrenia in resource-less rural communities, which is now serving more than 1500 patients. She has published over 180 scientific publications, Written over 10 chapters in books of psychiatry and edited two books.
She has been the Principal Investigator of 28 research projects including WHO field trials. Ten international projects have named her as CO-PI. Some of the well-known studies are Community care for People with Schizophrenia in India (COPSI), International Research Program on Psychoses in Diverse Settings and the genetic study with the University of Queensland.
She is on the editorial committee of several journals including the Schizophrenia Bulletin and Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
| Awards and Honors|| |
- 2022 – Nari Shakti Puraskar for “creating awareness about mental disorders” [Figure 1]
- 2020 – SIRS Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award of SIRS, an apex body for work on schizophrenia at Florence, Italy
- 2019 – Ashok Pai Memorial Mansa National Awarded for her contribution to Mental Health
- 2018 – The HINDU award for excellence in healthcare from Dr. Kiran Bedi
- 2017 – Andrea Delgado Award for Outstanding Contribution to Psychiatry from the Association of Black Psychiatrists of America
- 2014 – President's Gold Medal from the Royal College of Psychiatry, 2010 and Hon. Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.
|Figure 1: Nari Shakti Puraskar, the highest civilian award for women, from the honorable President Ram Nath Kovind for creating awareness for mental disorders. (Image Courtesy: www.twitter.com/rashtvapatibhvn on 8th March 2022)|
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| Dr. Thara's Publications|| |
- An assessment of post-tsunami psychosocial training programs in Tamil Nadu, India
- Telepsychiatry in India,,,
- Adverse events after zolpidem intake
- Effectiveness of a community-based intervention for people with schizophrenia and their caregivers in India (COPSI): A randomized controlled trial
- Gender differences in schizophrenia. Results of a follow-up study from India
- Schizophrenia construct: Quandaries and conundrums in India and low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs)
- The Madras Longitudinal Schizophrenia Study-Outcome, Remission and relapse, 10-years course, 20-years course, and 25 years course,,,,[2
- Women with Schizophrenia and Broken Marriages-Doubly Disadvantaged? Part I: Patient Perspective and Part II: Family Perspective,
- Psychotic disorders and bipolar affective disorder
- Editor of book: Emergencies in Psychiatry in LAMIC.
| Conclusion|| |
The work and contribution of Dr. Thara Rangaswamy to the field of psychiatry are enormous. She is instrumental in taking SCARF to greater heights. She has received accolades not just from India but also from all over the world. She remains the doyen in the field of schizophrenia and community mental health. She is one of the psychiatrists in India who has set an example as a role model for young psychiatrists of this generation.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Thara R, Rao K, John S. An assessment of post-tsunami psychosocial training programmes in Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2008;54:197-205.
Thara R, John S, Rao K. Telepsychiatry in Chennai, India: The SCARF experience. Behav Sci Law 2008;26:315-22.
Thara R, Sujit J. Mobile telepsychiatry in India. World Psychiatry 2013;12:84.
Thara R. Using mobile telepsychiatry to close the mental health gap. Curr Psychiatry Rep 2012;14:167-8.
Tharoor H, Thara R. Evolution of community telepsychiatry in India showcasing the SCARF Model. Indian J Psychol Med 2020;42:69S-74S.
Thara R. Adverse events after Zolpidem intake. Indian J Psychiatry 2001;43:85-6.
] [Full text]
Chatterjee S, Naik S, John S, Dabholkar H, Balaji M, Koschorke M, et al.
Effectiveness of a community-based intervention for people with schizophrenia and their caregivers in India (COPSI): A randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2014;383:1385-94.
Thara R, Rajkumar S. Gender differences in schizophrenia. Results of a follow-up study from India. Schizophr Res 1992;7:65-70.
Rangaswamy T, Arunachaleeswaran P, Raghavan V, John S. Schizophrenia construct: Quandaries and conundrums in India and LAMIC. Schizophr Res 2022;242:118-20.
Thara R, Eaton WW. Outcome of schizophrenia: The Madras longitudinal study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 1996;30:516-22.
Eaton WW, Thara R, Federman E, Tien A. Remission and relapse in schizophrenia: The Madras Longitudinal Study. J Nerv Ment Dis 1998;186:357-63.
Thara R, Henrietta M, Joseph A, Rajkumar S, Eaton WW. Ten-year course of schizophrenia – The Madras longitudinal study. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1994;90:329-36.
Thara R. Twenty-year course of schizophrenia: The Madras Longitudinal Study. Can J Psychiatry 2004;49:564-9.
Rangaswamy T. Twenty-five years of schizophrenia: The Madras longitudinal study. Indian J Psychiatry 2012;54:134-7. [Full text]
Thara R, Kamath S, Kumar S. Women with schizophrenia and broken marriages-doubly disadvantaged? Part I: Patient perspective. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2003;49:225-32.
Thara R, Kamath S, Kumar S. Women with schizophrenia and broken marriages-Doubly disadvantaged? Part II: Family perspective. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2003;49:233-40.
Thara R, Padmavati R. Psychotic disorders and bipolar affective disorder. Contemporary topics in womens mentol health: Global perspectives in chongqing society. John Wiley & Sons Inc: 2009. p. 9-35.
Rangaswamy T, Vijayakumar L, editors. Emergencies in Psychiatry in Low-and Middle-Income Countries. 2nd Edition: CRC Press; 2017.