The Indian Rheumatology Association

The Professional Organization of Rheumatologists and other Health Professionals in India

President's Message

Update on IRA activities : midterm progress report card from the President, IRA

Dear Friends,

Following our action plans made in March 2018, we have achieved the following targests; westill have lots to be achieved and with all of your support and goodwill, we can do so.

1. Indian College of Rheumatology:
Much cherished dream of Indian College of Rheumatology has taken its shape and it is growing under the leadership of Prof. RohiniHanda, the Dean and Prof. R.N. Mishra, the Dean designate as well as the chair of Theeducation cell of IRA. The first college council meeting was held in Delhi and the details of the programme has been laid out to initiate the fellowship program from this year. Prof. RohiniHanda has been overwhelmingly given one more year by the council (total 2 more years) to see the ball rolling on the various activities including thepost doctoral fellowship programme under the ICR. The details of the guidelines have been chalked out for strict norms while offering fellowship of Indian College of Rheumatology.

2. IRA Masters:
Similar to the ACR and APLAR masters, IRA masters will be delivered during IRACON and the first two masters have been chosen and approved by the general body at Guawahati IRACON to be felicitated at IRACON 2019 at Puducherry. MN Passy award will continue to be the top IRA award and therefore, recipients of MN Passy award will not be considered for IRA masters, whereas recipients of IRA masters can be nominated for MN Passy awards.For IRACON 2019, Dr. V. Krishnamoorty and Dr. Arvind Chopra have been chosen as the first 2 IRA masters.

3. IRA Guideliness/Consensus statements for management of common diseases:
The RA guidelines have been updated by Prof. Mishra and his team. It was decided that the remaining guidelines for common diseases will be done with the help of the IRA special interest groups for each disease. We expect and request conveners of each SIG to have initial email networking for drafting the guidelines and finalise it in a half a day meeting preferably by July 2019 this year, so that they can be presented during IRACON 2019.

4. IRA Patient cell activities:
IRA patient cell under the chairmanship of Dr. K. M. Mahendranath has started multiple activities namely the joint patient rheumatologists meeting at Bangalore, a similar meeting in IRACON at Guwahati, a forth coming meeting at Mumbai being organized by Dr. RaheeshRavindran and many more to come.The mission arthritis India, Pune and lupus initiatives in Kolkata have also organized patient meetings under the leadership of Dr. Arvind Chopra and Dr. AlakenduGhoshrepectively. The Pfizer have also approved a grant of US$ 50,000 for the IRA patients cell and we are hoping to receive the amount in the IRA account anytime now.

5. IRA database Cell:
Novartis have granted a milestone based grant of approximately Rs.97 lakhs in four installments for creating database of IRA for common rheumatic diseases. Interested centers and PI’s can apply through IRA and shortlisted centers will be funded for a data entry personnel. The intention of the cell is to generate data on clinical presentations and outcome of common rheumatic diseases in India.

6. IRA Office Space:
The long cherished proposal of having an office space of IRA is a mandatory requirement for our association. Dr. S.J. Gupta and the other senior rheumatologistsof Delhi, including Dr. Ashok Kumar, Dr. RohiniHanda and Dr. VedChaturvedi have selected /shortlisted places and we are in the process of getting the due legal checkups done. We wish to freeze one best chosen space for office purposes at the earliest. The decision to buy office space under the guidance of Dr. S.J. Gupta and Dr. VedChaturvedi was approved in general body meeting at Guwahati.

7. IRA Research Fund:
It is a requirement by the regulatory bodies to spend 85% of the profits made in various meetings of IRA; and research fundings apart from educational activities and buying a property are the various ways we can fulfill the commitments as a charitable body. In this regard, The EC and the general body at Guwahati have approved my proposal of creating a core research funds of Rs. 5 crores;towards that we can set aside 3 crores from our assets/savings and the remaining can be generated from grants of industry and other funding agencies. The chair of the research cell Prof. Amitaagarwal has been entrusted with the responsibility of expanding the research opportunities for rheumatologists across the nation and IRA is ready to spend the amount.

8. IRA Ethics and Legal code:
Prof. Surjith Singh was entrusted by the EC under the leadership of Prof. AlkenduGhosh, chair of IRA ethics and legal code,and the general body approved the decision to create ethics and legal code for IRA members on a voluntary basis. The draft has been circulated to all EC members and we wish to adopt at the earliest and circulate to all IRA members.It will be the first of its kind for any medical professional body in India. This is designed keeping our socio-cultural background in mind and it was adapted from the ethics and legal code of American medical association and few other reputed bodies.

9. Online Voting:
It was proposed and was approved by the general body meeting at Guwahati to implement online/electronic voting for IRA elections from this year. Prof. Surjit Singh has been entrusted with the responsibility and he has done ground work and we hope to start the process from immediate forth coming election.

10. APLAR Masters:
We have been successful in nominating and winning APLAR masters for this year also for much deserving Dr. V.R. Joshi in continuation of last year’s APLAR master’s award to Dr. K.M. Mahendranath. Dr. Mahendranathwas also a recipient of ACR master last year.

11. Future Initiatives:
IRA is also exploring new initiatives like forming young rheumatologists cell, primary care cell as well as an initiatives to form a South Asia Rheumatology Forum involving the SAARC countries. The IRA and ACR are also working towards increasing the number of exchange fellows, starting “ACR-EULAR-APLAR” symposium during IRACON and having stalls of IRA during the ACR meetings. For the first time in the history of ACR, they hosted a special presidential dinner for IRA attendees in ACR and it is notable that ACR does not have any inter-society Liasonwith any other organization apart from IRA.

Thanking you

Long Live IRA.
Jai Hind
Debashish Danda

Dr. Debashish Danda


President , Indian Rheumatology Association

Email :

Ex-Vice President & Treasurer, Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology (APLAR)

Editor in Chief, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases (IJRD)

Professor & Head, Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology, Christian Medical college & Hospital, Vellore, India