Chart your medical future
10th December 2012 12:00 AM
This branch of medicine deals with the study of diseases and focuses on how often they occur and where, its causes and how to prevent mass outbreaks. This analysis can be used to plan preventive measures and also to control the spread of diseases. Diabetes, cancer and cardiac arrest are some of the common illnesses in India have come under the scanner. Initially, epidemiologists concentrated on epidemic diseases only, but now they study any illness that threatens a large population.
Skills required: Epidemiologists need to act quickly, ascertain diseases as soon as possible and have the ability to handle pressure from various sources – superiors, community and the media.
Where to study: National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, and National Centre for Communicable diseases, Delhi, offer field epidemiology training programmes. “As per Medical Council of India norms, every medical college must have one epidemiologist. With almost 300 medical colleges, this amounts to a demand of 300 epidemiologists. But there is a wide gap between this demand and the supply of trained personnel,” says Prof V Murhekar, scientist F, National Institute of Epidemiology, which also offers an MAE and MPH in epidemiology. The Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University offers an MSc programme. MD, MAE, PhD, masters of public health (MPH) in epidemiology, health systems and field epidemiology. Non-medical graduates can also study an MPH or an MSc course.
Road ahead: In 2004, the Indian government launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme in 2004 to detect impending outbreaks and help initiate an effective and timely response and every district is supposed to have one trained epidemiologist. Hence there are a lot of openings for epidemiologists. The State AIDS Control Societies also have positions. Indian Council of Medical Research needs epidemiologists. Apart from these organisations, epidemiologists can also work in NGOs, international organisations and national health programmes.
Remuneration: The salary for a fresh graduate will depend on the organisation/hospital or institute he/she joins after graduation.
Institutes abroad: University of Pittsburgh and University of Washington in USA and University of Aberdeen and Cranfield University in UK. In Australia you can study at Melbourne school of Population Health.
Medical radiation physicist
Medical radiation science is the study of radiation and its energy, how to apply it in treatment and diagnosis of certain diseases and illnesses. The main method of treatment is through diagnostic imaging, which is the process of creating images of the human body. These images are used to then examine, analyse diseases and treat patients.
Skills required: Medical radiation physicists should be extremely careful when treating a patient as they need to ensure amount of radiation used is within the permissible limits, which will depend upon the treatment needed for the patient. They are also required to notice minute details and have good communication skills as most patients need to be guided properly to undergo this treatment.
Where to study: The department of physics, Anna University, Chennai, University of Calicut, Thenhipalam, Kerala, Panjab University and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre offer MSc and diploma programmes in medical radiation. You can complete your BSc or an MSc in radiation physics or medical physics to pursue a career in this field. eligibility criteria: Students who have completed their BSc in biology, chemistry and physics can apply.
Road ahead: “Medical radiation physicists are very much in demand. There is good scope both job-wise and for further studies,” says AK Bhati, coordinator, Centre for Medical Physics, Panjab University. One can also work as a radiological safety officer (RSO), who is responsible to designate safe use of radiation materials. You need to complete your PhD to become a RSO.
Remuneration: A fresher can expect a salary of `40,000-50,000 to begin with.
Institutes abroad: Institutes to study medical physics include University College London, UK, and Purdue University, USA.
Nuclear medicine technology
Nuclear medicine is concerned with the use of safe and small amounts of radioactive materials for diagnostic, therapeutic and research purposes. Nuclear medicine technologists are highly-trained speacialists who deal with performing in vivo (experimentation done in or on a live tissue), radiation safety and quality control procedures,” explains Prof DK Dhawan, department of biophysics and coordinator, Center for Nuclear Medicine, Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Skills required: A technologist should have completed a bachelor programme in nuclear medicine. You need to hold a higher degree to become a nuclear medical physicist. “They (technologists and physicists) shoulder the responsibilities right from the beginning of patient positioning, radiopharmaceutical administration till the final processing of images. They also assure consistent performance of cameras as well as the routine quality control of the radio pharmaceuticals,” adds Prof Dhawan.
Where to study: Some of the best institutes to pursue a master’s in this specialty is All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delgi, and Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Karnataka. Panjab University also offers a PhD programme. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, also offers a one-year diploma course. India lacks in advanced technologies for designing and developing new radio-pharmaceuticals. “To overcome this barrier, we require a comprehensive training and expertise from abroad. Moreover, we also need foreign collaborations for providing funds and technical assistance for instruments to support the research and development in our country,” says Prof Dhawan.
eligibility criteria: Students with a science background with physics as one of their core subjects can apply.
Road ahead: Nuclear medicine technologists have ample opportunities at various diagnostic centres, medical hospitals and research institutes. They can also serve as radiation safety officers after qualifying the requisite examination conducted by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India every year.
Remuneration: Fresh graduates can expect to earn around `30-40,000 per month, claims Prof Dhawan.
The British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada, Purdue University and University of North Carolina are some institutes in USA. In UK you can study at University of Salford, University of Birmingham and University of Leeds.
Although this is not a new field in medicine, it is in demand highly and requires manpower. Hematology is the treatment of blood and blood diseases. Clinical hematologists treat patients while laboratory hematologists also called hemathopathologists deal with diagnosis. Bleeding disorders, lymphoma, leukemia, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation are some of the illnesses that a clinical hematologist treats.
Skills required: To become a clinical hematologist, you need to complete your DM in clinical hematology. “Students need to have a stable mindset and a lot of patience and perseverance because of the tremendous pressure in this field,” says Vijay Ramanan, clinical hematologist and pioneer of bone marrow and stem cell transplant at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
Where to study: According to Ramanan, the best institute to get trained in clinical hematology is Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, and West Maid, Sydney, Australia. Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, The Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai, and Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, offers DM and diploma courses in hematology and blood transfusion. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, has a PhD programme in hematology.
Eligibility criteria: Students who have completed their MD in general medicine, pathology, paediatrics, geriatrics or biochemistry can apply for this course.
Road ahead: “The future is bright with stem cells being the focus of many therapies,” says Ramanan. He explains that the incidents of malignancy have gone up which has increased the demand for hematologists. There are not many specialists at the moment, but the number has gone up when compared to the previous decade. He adds,“There is awareness of this course, but student enrollment is less.”
Remuneration: Freshers can expect to earn approx `1 lakh per month.
Institutes abroad: Other institutes that offer programmes in hematology are University of Liverpool and University College London, UK. The American Society of Hematology also offers a year-long training programme. University of Washington, University of Virginia Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, are some institutes in US where you can pursue hematology.
What if there was a way to heal yourself without consuming pills or going under a machine? Osteopathy is the answer. The belief is that your body with the help of massages and bone manipulation is capable of healing itself. Osteopathists detect subtle spinal and bone changes and treat accordingly. This methodology relieves pain in the skeletal system, immune system and the nervous system just with a touch of the hand.
Prof Krishna Murari Modi, founder-principal, Asian College of Osteopathic Medicine, Raigad, Maharashtra, is a pioneer in osteopathy. He began his practice in 1975. “A lady who was two months pregnant suffered from severe backache. Everyone suggested that we should terminate the foetus as she would not be able to bear the pain till her delivery. But I tried the treatment on her and she was cured,” says Prof Modi.
Osteopathy is a developing field in the country. But Prof Modi assures us that there is scope to flourish in this field. “Since this is a new field in India, opportunities are plenty to explore and experiment. There is not much competition as not many students are still aware of osteopathic medicine,” adds Prof Modi.
Skills required: This field of alternative medicine needs a clinically trained osteopath. Since they use their hands to diagnose and treat, quality education and training is very essential.
Where to study: In India, few colleges offer courses in osteopthic medicine. Asian College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a certificate course. Dr NTR University of Health Sciences, Vijayawada and Holy Angels College of Alternative Medicines, Mumbai, offer diploma and certificate courses in osteopathy.
Eligibility criteria: Students who have completed their MBBS, bachelor of ayurveda, medicine and surgery, bachelor of homeopathy medical science or bachelor of naturopathy and yogic sciences can apply.
Road ahead: The future in this field will be good but the use of technology and advance medical treatments prevent students from pursuing osteopathy, which is a manual job. Prof Modi suggests,“This can be one’s own business and can be started with a low investment.”
Remuneration: Prof Modi explains, “The salary will depend on the osteopath’s experience. I charge `4,000 per treatment, but a fresher can charge `1,000 for the same.”
Institutes abroad: North East Surrey College of Technology, UK, offers a five-year, full-time, integrated course in osteopathic medicine. Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, North Carolina, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Michigan State University are some of the institutes where you can pursue osteopathy.
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