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Alumni of the month – November 2013

Dr R. Chandrashekhar
Fellowship: Health Facility Planning & Design, 1997

Robert Humphreys

Having completed the MA Health Buildings: Planning, Management and Design course at LSBU 1997, Dr Chandrashekhar is the Government of India’s Chief Architect for the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. During a recent trip to the UK, he was awarded the title of “Visiting Professor” upon his return to the University. He graduated from the Medical Architecture Research Unit (MARU), the educational and research centre of excellence for inter-professional training focused on healthcare provision.

The LSBU Alumni Association spoke with the Doctor during his brief stay in London about his time at LSBU and how this proved vital in his subsequent career success: “LSBU was the only university which offered the masters programme in Medical Architecture. I was fortunate enough to complete my fellowship at MARU, which was sponsored by the World Health Organization. Studying in London was fantastic and reminded me of the fast life of Mumbai trains when crowds were travelling the tube during peak hours!” 

At the time, Dr Chandrashekhar was already working as Senior Architect for the Indian Government. During this period, he gained first-hand experience of dealing with healthcare projects for the Government of India. It was his time at MARU, however, which provided him with focussed and accredited training that helped advance his career to the next level: “Coming to LSBU had enriched my knowledge in this field with global exposure.”

This global exposure was reflected by the diverse profile of his fellow students: “Many of the students were from different countries which gave me the opportunity to share the cultural and healthcare practice prevailing in their country.” Furthermore, the Doctor attributes the open and welcoming studying environment engendered by his tutors as another reason why he flourished: “The teaching methodology was very friendly and we maintained a very cordial relationship with the teachers.” To this day, he still enjoys a positive relationship with some of his former tutors and former classmates. Dr Chandrashekhar then pursued his PhD from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Rajasthan and was the first PhD student in the field of Medical Architecture in India.

As the Chief Architect, the Doctor plays a key role in the planning and execution of healthcare infrastructure for all Government of India projects, as well as advising the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare over policy matters. The expertise and recognition he gained from this role inspired him to co-author his first book entitled “Planning & Designing of Hospitals - Principles & Practice”, a gift he imparted to Professor Rao Bhamidimarri, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Engineering, Science and The Built Environment during his “Visiting Professor” ceremony.

Whilst the list of awards accumulated during Dr Chandrashekhar’s career is vast (for example, he received the “Best Citizen of India Award” in 2006 from the prestigious Delhi International Publishing House), his next major project is to set up the “National Institute of Healthcare Engineering & Architecture” at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. This new masters programme focussing on Health Facility Planning & Design and Healthcare Engineering & Management will be the first of its kind in South East Asia. Despite his busy schedule, LSBU looks forward to welcoming back the Doctor in the near future as Visiting Professor.