Volunteer Team


Vasanth Kuppuswamy
Volunteered Summer 2011

Vasanth Kuppuswamy is currently a senior at Vanderbilt University and will graduate with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in May of 2012. Vasanth is the recipient of the Ingram Scholarship at Vanderbilt, one of three honors scholarships which recognize excellence in community service. Vasanth’s volunteer efforts in high school were mostly centered around his work with the Tamil Nadu India School Fund, a non-profit organization of his own creation with a purpose to provide educational opportunities to students in rural India who would otherwise not have access to them. Over the past four years with the help of his mentor, Bill Smyth, Vasanth has raised over $100,000 and accomplished a number of things in the village schools. Some of these include desks for all the students who were previously sitting on the floor, science labs, a computer lab, a school library, a regulation basketball court, and a water purification machine. In the summer of 2008, Vasanth worked with Rotary Clubs in the Charleston area as well as one club in Tirupattur, India to provide first-aid supplies to the school health clinics of 149 public schools in the region where he has been working for so long. Most recently he has allied himself with the District Magistrate of Krishnagiri District and Rotary International to provide 35 sanitary napkin vending machines to high schools across Krishnagiri District. In addition, Vasanth has begun his own social enterprise, a for-profit business process outsourcing center in his dad's village to employ young people with minimal computer skills in work ranging from website development to form-filling and data conversion. As part of the Ingram Scholarship program, Vasanth travelled to Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh to design and construct a clean water pipeline to provide fresh water for widows at an old age home.

Vasanth's experience with PCMC began last year when he aided Dr. Kalpana Manthiram with her project to estimate immunization coverage of both required and optional vaccines in Pallavaram. Vasanth aims to take a year off between undergraduate work and medical school and will spend this year working in Pallavaram to implement a home visitation program to provide care for newborn infants and their mothers.

Vasanth is expected to graduate with an MD from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2017.

Kalpana Manthiram, M.D.
Volunteered Summer 2011

Kalpana Manthiram is currently a pediatric infectious disease fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.  Kalpana was born in Palayamkottai, India and grew up in Austin, Texas.  She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin where she did basic science research on biosensors and coordinated several programs to energize girls about science and engineering.  She received her medical degree from the UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX.  There, she was selected for the Community Health Fellowship, did research on shared medical appointments, and developed health education materials for several community organizations.  She was also elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.  She did her residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center.  At Vanderbilt, she will be doing research on periodic fever syndromes. 

Kalpana did a research project on childhood immunizations in Pallavaram, India in summer of 2011 with support from the Schliesman Traveling Fellowship and Adolescent Medicine Department at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Her research mentors were Dr. Areej Hassan and Dr. Athi Narayan.  The purpose of this project was to estimate coverage of both mandatory and optional immunizations and understand parental attitudes and knowledge about immunizations with the hope of enhancing immunization uptake.  She is currently preparing a manuscript for publication.  She received the American Tamil Medical Association’s Best Resident Award in 2011 for her research.

Anita Ram, B.A.
Volunteered Summer 2010, Summer 2011

Anita Ram graduated from Johns Hopkins University in December 2011 with a B.A. in Public Health Studies. She was born in Lexington, Kentucky to Santhini and Kolandavel Ramasamy. While in college, Anita was co-president of the Women's Pre-Health Leadership Society, co-founder of Conversations in Medicine lecture series, and senior executive board member for the Public Health Student Forum. She was selected for the Community Impact Internship Program in Summer 2011, where she worked full-time for the Baltimore City Health Department's Needle Exchange Program. She also volunteered at a clinic that provides primary care to homeless men and tutored inner city youth in math, reading, and writing.

Anita started volunteering at Pallavaram Children's Medical Center in 2010. During her volunteer experience, she helped implement the hospital's first outreach program, a camp to screen children at a local pre-school. She also helped create a documentary, which she presented at the 2010 American Tamil Medical Association's Annual Conference in Chicago. As the hospital's first volunteer, she helped Dr. Athi Narayan initiate the hospital's volunteer program as well. In 2011, Anita received the Provost's Undergraduate Research Award, which allowed her to return to PCMC to study the nutrition transition in Chennai. Anita aspires to become a physician and maintain her strong commitment to improving community health. Her main academic interests include nutrition, global health, and women's health. 

Anita received the US Fulbright Scholarship in 2012 to conduct research at St. Johns Research Institute in Bangalore, India. Her project focused on understanding the health behaviors of IT employees as they relate to the rising prevalence of chronic disease in India. 

Anita is expected to graduate with an MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2017.

Deepa Ranganathan, M.D, M.S.

Growing up in Chennai, Dr. Ranganathan graduated with an M.B.B.S degree from Kilpauk Medical College. She did a Senior House Job in Pediatrics at Railway Hospital in Perambur, Chennai and worked for a few years at Child’s Trust Medical Center. She then came to the U.S and completed a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., and went on to do a residency in Pediatrics and a Neonatology fellowship, both at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. After finishing her training, she worked in different NICU’s in the US -  in California, Indiana and currently in Atlanta.

Throughout her career she has been very interested in public health and the global well-being of all children. At the University of Chicago she took basic courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The focus of her research work during that time was the Epidemiology of GBS sepsis in neonates, and Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality in the U.S., with several presentations at national and international forums and publications. She was invited to speak on racial disparities in infant mortality at the March of Dimes, California chapter conference and at the Center for Population Health, School of Public Health at Indiana University, South Bend, Indiana.  Dr. Ranganathan has been a Medical Volunteer with the organization “Arpan Global Charities” and traveled a few times to India, to Alexandria - Egypt, Valledupar - Colombia, providing service to the underserved and education. She spoke about these experiences at the Global Health and Humanitarian Summit, Emory University, April 2011 - “ Motivating Medical Mission Groups Abroad - the Good, the Bad and How to make the best of it”.

 Dr. Ranganathan has a passion and commitment to improve the lives of all children world-wide, with a special place in her heart for the children of India, where she was born and raised.

Latha Panchap
Volunteered Summer 2013

Latha Panchap is currently a rising junior at Cornell University, majoring in biological engineering. She is an avid writer for the Triple Helix Science in Society Journal Cornell chapter. Her article in the Fall 2011 Journal was nominated for international review and published at Cornell University, Brown University, the University of Chicago, and the National University of Singapore. In her sophomore year, she was selected as a Senior Literary Editor for the Triple Helix International. She also is the secretary of the Students of Diabetes Awareness, a club focused on changing the current perceptions of diabetes within the general population and making college campuses more diabetic-friendly. Latha volunteers within the College of Engineering as a peer advisor for incoming freshmen students and is an active member of Phi Delta Epsilon Pre-Medical Fraternity. Her research at school focuses on stem cell differentiation as it relates to cancer.

Latha’s involvement at PCMC began in the summer of 2013 when she visited the Home-Based Care Project implemented in the Krishnagiri district near Makanoorpatti. During that summer, she also spent 3 weeks at PCMC shadowing Dr. K. Parvathy, Chief Medical Officer, and understanding how medicine is practiced in India. She hopes to go back next summer to conduct a study at PCMC or the Home-Based Care Project. 

Ajith Susai
Volunteered Summer 2011
Ajith Susai was born in Chicago, Illinois to Chitra and Antony Susai. He graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Kinesiology and minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology, where his research focused on developing a neuromuscular rehabilitation program for partial spinal cord injury patients using a TheraStride treadmill, gait analysis of patients with Multiple Sclerosis, and aided in the development of a manual wheelchair that decreased straining forces on the user's shoulders.

Ajith volunteered at PCMC in July 2011, where he installed a basic electronic medical record system to replace the existing hand-written ledger to increase accessibility of patient records for hospital physicians and employees.

Ajith is currently attending Nova Southeastern University's Osteopathic Medical School and is expected to graduate with his D.O. in June 2016.

Janani Sridhar
Janani Sridhar was born in Chennai, India. She graduated from Anna University in May 2011 with a B.Tech in Biotechnology, where her research focused on Leptospirosis in Canines using Dark field microscopy, Polymerase Chain reaction and Histopathology in Madras Veterinary College in the Department of Veterinary Pathology. Janani was an active member of Interact club during high school and had volunteered in various Orphanages. She was awarded the ‘Best Interactor’ award in 2006. 

Janani is currently a master’s student in the Medical University of South Carolina and is expected to graduate in August, 2013 with a M.S in Clinical Research.