Dr. Dara S. Amar was the Professor and Head of the Department Of Community Medicine St. John’s Medical College from the year 1989.
As an undergraduate student at St. John’s (1966 Batch), he has won several first ranks and gold medals in Anatomy, Physiology, ENT and Preventive and Social Medicine. After finishing MBBS, Dara could have chosen any specialty or gone abroad but instead chose to join the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine of St. John’s Medical College in 1973. He specialized in Preventive and Social Medicine at All India Institute of Public Health Calcutta and returned with an MD in 1976. He has remained with St. John’s, first as a student and then as a teacher, from 1966 except for the years 74 - 76.
Dr. Dara has seen this department grow from a fledging of 3 staff to its present strength of 40, which includes many project workers. Apart from the training of medical undergraduates he initiated training rograms for lay people, para-medicals, and postgraduates and public health nursing. Equally significant, were the large number of national and internationally funded public health projects some of which were initiated by his staff during this tenure. The MD program in the department commenced under his guidance and he was also the first and only Professor to begin guiding PhD (Community Health) students in his department and the department of Public Health Nursing of St. John’s.
Dr. Dara was the Additional Vice Principal of St. John’s Medical College from 1995 to 2001.
He is an undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD Examiner for over 15 universities in India. He is a member and examiner of the National Board of Examiners of India for Award of DNB (old MNAMS) in Community Health and Family Medicine. He was also an examiner and Selection Advisor for the Union Public Service Commission of India. He was the Chairman of the Post Graduate Board of Examiners and a member of Board of Studies for Bangalore University.
He has held several posts such as Vice President, Executive Secretary, Central Council Member, and Scientific Committee Chairman for several national associations such as the Voluntary Health Association of India, Indian Association of Occupational Health etc. He was also a member of the expert sub group on health for the Planning Commission of India.
He has presented papers at several international and national conferences. In this connection he has visited several countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, Germany, Thailand and Sri Lanka. He also has several published papers in national and international journals (WHO Publication etc.)In 1987, he was honored by the Mayor of Santa Cruz, California, USA and made an Honorary Citizen of Santa Cruz during an invited tour to California, as a resource person for training in Natural Family Planning.
Dr. Dara married a very pretty doctor Dr. Girija Singh in 1974 who did her MD in Medicine form Warangal. She joined the Dept. of Medicine in St. John’s Medical College Hospital in 1978. All of us will always remember her as a wonderful teacher who made learning of Medical signs & symptoms of diseases a simple job. She had the distinction of getting a seat of DM Neurology in NIMHANS and giving it up and sticking to General Medicine which she says is more challenging and helps a wider cross section of patients. They have two sons Akhil born in 1985 and Akshay who was born in 1988.
Dara is an active and Senior (from 1982) Ham Radio Operator who enjoys communicating around the world via radio while sitting at home. He has coordinated emergency radio communications during major disasters such as floods, earthquakes, rescue missions on sea, air and land. He has ham radio friends in over 130 countries (including remote islands and the Antarctica research stations) with whom he chats on the radio waves regularly.
Dara is also a writer of short stories, which get published regularly in magazines. Other little known facts about him is that he has completed the Teachers level grade in Piano playing from the Trinity College of Music, London. He has also consistently won the Annual Cross Country Marathon Race for 5 years while at school. He can read and write and speak fluently in Tamil.
In a career encompassing nearly the entire period St. John’s has been in existence, his multifaceted personality has been actively engaged in teaching medical students the importance of Community Health. Choosing what was then a glamourless “drab” specialty, he heads a department that today is at the forefront of modern health care development. Much of this is due to the consistent and outstanding effort Dr. Dara has put in. He is, indeed, an exemplary and inspiring alumnus.
Compiled by Dr Dominic Misquith (Batch 1975) and Dr Meenakshi Bharath (Batch 1976)