Dr. Vidya Acharya, affectionately known all over the country as the “Mother of Nephrology”, The first lady nephrologist of India. She started her illustrious medical career, completing her undergraduate and postgraduate studies from the prestigious Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital. She dedicated herself completely to these institutions, where she joined as faculty and contributed immensely to the development of the Departments of Medicine and Nephrology.
She ventured into a male-dominated world and her entire journey was characterized by fearlessness and unflagging energy that ensured establishment of a department that was the cynosure of the world’s eyes.
She was responsible for establishment and development of the Nephrology Unit at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. She was the very first to start Dialysis and Transplantation facilities in Western India.
Dr. Vidya Acharya
She has been one of the very few who helped the formation of Indian Society of Nephrology, Indian Society of Organ Transplantation and consistently worked for their progress having held the post of president of both societies. She was also a founder member and past President of Hypertension society of India. She was an active member of Education Committee, Hypertension and Kidney Disease Detection Committee of International Federation of Kidney Foundation [IFKF]. She was passionate about the importance of prevention of CKD.
Respectfully called “madam”, she was a popular teacher in Medicine and Science, having trained thousands of students at the M.B.B.S. level, hundreds of post graduates in M.D., more than 200 students in the specialty of Nephrology, and more than a dozen research students for M.Sc and Ph.D in the subject of ‘Applied Biology’ of Mumbai University.
Many of her students trained and nurtured under her, have achieved positions of prominence. All her students stand witness to the care, love and attention showered on them. For even those who were not fortunate enough to be counted among her immediate students, she always held out a helping hand, a comforting shoulder and a compassionate embrace. She has been a “grand teacher” to her student’s students if I may say.
She contributed much to the development of Nephrology in the country. She developed the first dialysis and transplant facilities in western India and she was a vigorous advocate of decease donor kidney transplant. She was also very active in prevention of kidney diseases for which she organized various educational and screening programs through National Kidney Foundation, India.
She was the founding member of Indian Society of Nephrology and Indian Society of Organ Transplant and served as the president of both societies. She established Maharashtra confederation for organ transplant (MCFOT) to initiate cadaver transplantation in the state of Maharashtra. She was instrumental in bringing all renal health care professionals together by organizing first ever conference called “Conference of Renal Health Care Professionals (COREP)” in 2012. This conference was highly applauded by the International Federation of Kidney Foundation (IFKF)
She was a great academician and had more than 250 publications in various national and international journals. She was an invited speaker and a visiting professor to universities and medical schools both at home and abroad. She was instrumental in bringing Indian Nephrology on the world map.
Even after her retirement, she continued to remain a great teacher and a researcher and devoted herself wholeheartedly in training students of Nephrology and encouraging them to conduct research.
For all her contributions in the field of nephrology, she received numerous awards including Lifetime achievement award from Indian Society of Nephrology and South Asia region pioneer award from International Society of Nephrology. The Indian Society of Nephrology-West Zone chapter has instituted an Oration in her honor at its annual meeting “Madam” will always be a guiding force and inspiration for a lot of women in India and abroad. I am sure she has touched the lives of many.