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Tribute to Founder

   Founder’s Vision and A Tribute to the Greatest of Teachers of Radiology: Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao

The Foundation of the MSS society was the vision of Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao, born Jan 1925 in a small village in Krishna District. Andhra Pradesh. After retiring as Professor of Radiology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York where he had trained as a radiology resident. Dr. Subba Rao returned to his home country, India in 1986. He served as the Director of the University of Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences, and during this period (1985-1990, 1997 -2004), he rendered yeoman service to Radiology in the Institute, state and country. He was the President of IRIA for several years. He served as Health Advisor to the Ministry of Health, Govt of AP, Chairman of Padmavati Medical College for Women, Tirupathi, AP, chairman of KIMS Medical Research Foundation, International Educational Academy, and the founder of Kakarla Subba Rao Radiological Educational Services, Hyderabad among many other eminent national leadership positions. He was awarded the prestigious Padmasri award by the Govt of India in 2000, for unparalleled services in modernizing the practice of Radiology in the country and establishing state of the art imaging (CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, Mammography). He is considered the father of modern radiology in the country influencing all areas of patient service, education, training, research while focusing on affordability and healthcare access to all.

His special focus and passion were MSK Imaging. He envisioned a MSK society in the country which would serve to enhance the quality of subspeciality practice of MSK Imaging, serve as a network to build bridges between the MSK radiologists in the country and abroad. The primary aim and vision of the society was to first extend its services to the urban and rural populations of India, uplifting the level of MSK imaging to solve the MSK health care problems. The other vision was to establish dynamic interaction with other global MSK societies, so there is constant exchange of skill, knowledge, information and technology, all of which were rapidly evolving globally.

With the above intentions, the society was informally formed in 2012 with Dr. Kakarla’s vision and blessings and with the enthusiasm of Dr (Prof). Mahesh Prakash, a MSK Radiologist in PGI, Chandigarh. It was formally registered in 2013 with the help of 12 eminent founding members from across the country, and the first inaugural conference was held in 2013 in Vijayawada under the leadership of Dr. Varaprasad Vemuri, a student of Dr. Kakarla in NIMS. It was very well attended and a highly successful meeting. In 2015, under the guidance of Dr. Kakarla, MSS India hosted its first International conference with the Asian Musculoskeletal Society and Dr. (Prof) Wilfred Peh, President AMS. The two societies embarked on this plan, working alongside Dr. ( Prof) Hema Choudur, Canada, who had trained as a radiology resident with Dr. Kakarla at NIMS and with Dr. Prabhakar Reddy, MSS India (senior radiologist who had played a major role along with Dr. Anand Akbari in the registration of the Society). This first International Conference was a tremendous success, demonstrating the enormous talent of Indian MSK Radiologists/ trainee’s and showcasing the enthusiasm and ability of the society to join the global MSK Societies’ network. Subsequently, the society rapidly grew in number and strength, by leaps and bounds, with annual conferences, mid term workshops, a journal edited by Dr. Raj Negi, tie ups with AMS, ESSR and ISS, all of which fulfilled the dream of Dr. Kakarla. Dr. Subba Rao attended the annual MSS conference in Pune, India in 2019 where he spoke about his lifetime dream of forming the society and seeing it grow to such heights being fulfilled! He ended his address with” What else could one want?” to which he received a standing ovation. He soon breathed his last on April 16, 2021, at a ripe old age of 96. Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao will be remembered by all MSK Radiologists in India as a Stalwart in Radiology, a Legendary leader and Visionary, a great Teacher and Mentor who has shaped the career and lives of hundreds to thousands of radiology students and radiologists in India. His students are highly successful practising radiologists all over the globe, influencing the delivery of health care.

In passing, it would be appropriate to include the note of another legendary radiologist and teacher of Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao, late Harold G. Jacobson, Chairman and Professor, Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, Albert Einstein Medical Center “Dr. Kakarla Subbarao, is in my opinion, the best diagnostic Radiologist in this country (U.S.A.) and perhaps in the world. I have never met anyone with the "genius" that Dr. Subbarao manifests on all occasions and in all subspecialities of diagnostic Radiology. At the Radiological Society of North America Meeting (RSNA)-the biggest scientific radiological meeting in the world, Dr. Subbarao has won three times and finished second once in film reading. Dr. Subbarao is a remarkable talent who in his performance defies description - an individual whose "genius" is matched only by his marvelous personality and enormous kindness,” The Guru".

Written by Dr. Hema N Choudur