|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 195-196
Dr. Rita Sood: An erudite physician and ardent medical educationist
Shashi Bala Paul1, Vinod Kumar Paul2
1 Departments of Radiodiagnosis, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 NITI Aayog, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||24-Jun-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||24-Jun-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Aug-2021|
Dr. Shashi Bala Paul
Department of Radiodiagnosis, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Paul SB, Paul VK. Dr. Rita Sood: An erudite physician and ardent medical educationist. J Med Evid 2021;2:195-6
Dr. Rita Sood was born on 21 October 1956 in a family that migrated to Delhi from West Pakistan after partition and struggled to rebuild their life in an unfamiliar city. From early years of schooling, she was motivated and single-mindedly focused on being a doctor and any thoughts of her not being able to do so, would bring tears in her eyes. After completing her pre-medical from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, her determination and perseverance for Medicine ensured her a seat in the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi.
Graduating as a Physician and then specializing in Medicine from the same college, Dr. Rita joined AIIMS, New Delhi in 1982 as a senior resident where she was destined to spend the rest of glorious lifetime. Her sincerity, hard work and dedication resulted in her induction as a faculty at AIIMS. She rose to become the professor of Medicine in 2002 and later department head in 2016.
Over years, she bloomed and flourished in the environment of AIIMS, and developed into a compassionate, caring, soft-spoken physician and an astute clinician. She always earned the respect and adoration of her friends and colleagues. Patient care and teaching was her passion. Her bedside rounds in the wards provided valuable learnings to the residents and emphasized the importance of clinical skill enhancement rather than reliance on highly sophisticated diagnostic modalities. It was a delight to watch her in the inter-departmental radiological conferences where she enthusiastically participated in the discussions for solving the diagnostic enigmas for clinical management and emphasising its importance to her students.
Her passion for learning, keeping pace with advances, and upgrading clinical skills was profound. She pursued training in clinical hematology from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA and later was selected for a fellowship in Medical Education Technology from the highly acclaimed Institute at Dundee, UK. The latter transformed her career and paved the way for becoming the pioneer in medical education and patronizing it. She actively contributed to the activities of the Centre for Medical Education at AIIMS in various capacities. Soon, she became the fellow of the Foundation for advancement of International Medical Education and Research institute, Philadelphia and served as its messiah both nationally and internationally. As the President of the South East Asian Regional Association for Medical Education, she represented the country on multiple occasions. She was the Founder-President of the Academy of Health Professionals Educators. In addition to several publications, her contributions range from mentoring medical educators to writing medical textbooks and organising medical education conferences in close partnership with organisations like UNICEF and the WHO. In 2011, she was selected as the Director of AIIMS Rishikesh, the offer she could not avail due to personal reasons. However, she served as a member of the Institute body and selection committee of the same institute until the last year.
Dr. Rita was a role model for many of us. Approachable, informal and caring, she was the most sought-after physician. For her earlier stint in the employee's health scheme, she is fondly remembered for her pleasant mannerisms and helpful attitude by the entire AIIMS staff, faculty and their families in the residential complex.
Personally, for us, she was a part of our extended family. Her ability to balance her family and professional commitments was commendable. She had the steadfast support of her loving husband, Dr. Arun and two young affectionate sons Varun and Akshay.
Rita, the shrewd clinician, experienced an unusual symptom while attending a conference in 2018 for which she rushed back home for medical consultation. She was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. She and the family accepted the reality with bravery and determination. She fought like a warrior. Each time we met, she was optimistic and unhesitatingly discussing her problems and clinical issues. In the later part of her illness, often, one could spot her in the campus greeting people cheerfully during her evening strolls on a wheelchair with her husband by her side. She breathed her last on 8th April, 2021 in the presence of all family members.
Dr Rita, the woman with grace, poise and simplicity, will be remembered as a wonderful human being, and an erudite physician by her friends, colleagues and patients whose lives she touched. The nation has lost an ardent medical educationist who stood for the value-driven training of future doctors.
Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May her soul rest in peace!