Hyderabad, Dec 31 (IANS) Eminent breast cancer surgeon Raghu Ram Pillarisetti is named on the prestigious 2021 new year's Honours list of Queen Elizabeth II. The list has just been published in the 'London Gazette', the official publication of the Crown. Instituted in 1917 by King George V, the Queen's Honours are amongst the most prestigious awards worldwide.
Raghu Ram is the director of KIMS-Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases and founder-CEO of Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation. He is also the immediate past President of the Association of Surgeons of India.
The 54-year-old has the rare distinction of becoming one of the youngest surgeons of Indian origin in over 100 years to be honoured by the Queen with an OBE - Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
It is the second highest Order of the British Empire award (excluding a knighthood/damehood) conferred in recognition of his outstanding services towards improving breast cancer care and surgical education in India and to the UK-India relations.
The British Honours system aims to show gratitude publicly to those who have 'gone the extra mile' in their service and who stand out 'head and shoulders' above others in their distinction.
"It felt surreal. I was at a loss for words when I was told that Her Majesty, the Queen, may graciously appoint me as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. I am deeply grateful and incredibly humbled to accept this high honour conferred by Her Majesty, the Queen. For well over a decade, I have strived to replicate the best of British practices in my motherland and feel immensely proud to be a 'living bridge' between the UK and India," Dr Raghu Ram said.
He dedicated the recognition to his family and patients. He also thanked the Board of Directors of KIMS Hospitals. "Dr Raghu has achieved at a very young age what some may take a lifetime to achieve. When he undertakes anything, he does it with 100% commitment and dedication. Having spent 10 years in the United Kingdom, shortly before relocating to India, he met me to present his dream of improving breast healthcare in India. I was impressed with his bold time-bound vision that he presented to me. So, I gave him an opportunity to unfold his dreams," said Dr B Bhaskar Rao, Managing Director, KIMS Group of Hospitals.
Raghu Ram is also one of the youngest recipients of Padma Shri and Dr BC Roy National awards conferred in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
He has scaled new heights in his career over the past 25 years, ever since he qualified to become a surgeon in 1995.
Over the past 13 years, he has played a pivotal role in significantly improving breast cancer care in India.
He established South Asia's first dedicated comprehensive breast health centre, founded a breast cancer charity to raise awareness about the importance of early detection, and implemented a population-based breast cancer screening programme in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.