Many innovations in training were introduced, many of which are still in position. Some notable innovations are listed below:
- Along with training of psychiatric residents, all M.D. (Medicine) residents were sent for two months training in Psychiatry Department. This not only improved the skills of future physicians from P.G.I. but also brought medicine and psychiatry closer together reducing the earlier prejudice against psychiatry. I believe this training still continues and perhaps is a unique feature of postgraduate training at P.G.I. Chandigarh.
- Though our training program was very good but I felt it is mainly based in a General Hospital. To cover this deficiency every resident was sent to a mental hospital for two months for additional training. Most of the residents went to NIMHANS Bangalore, CIP Ranchi or Amritsar Mental Hospital. This practice still continues.
- Individual supervised psychotherapy training of residents for certain minimum number of hours was introduced and is still continuing. Such exposure to individual psycho-therapy in training years is very important in later psychiatric practice. P.G.I. is one of few training centres in India where this is being done regularly.
- In P.G.I. M.D. Psychiatry examination is usually conducted for two days. After a day on new O.P.D. cases, second day is reserved for inpatient cases which are directly under the supervision of the resident for few weeks and who is responsible for all investigations and treatments. This is an indepth examination and much more comprehensive than the usual O.P.D. cases and viva. This perhaps again is a unique feature of P.G.I.
Selection of Residents
I would like to mention here some memorable events of resident selection of that period. We were fortunate that quite early in the history of the department some very bright medical residents were attracted to psychiatry and decided to take it up as their career. 1969 was a memorable year when four of the very bright residents, Dr. Param Kulhara, Dr. Subhash Bhatia, Dr. Harish Malhotra, Dr. Sarabjit Singh all applied for two seats in Psychiatry. I had hard time to persuade the Dean, Dr. Chhuttani to take all four of them by allotting extra seats. Just when I thought I have won the battle, Dr. Salman Akhtar arrived late. I was convinced his selection will be good for the department and again persuaded Dr. Chhuttani to relax the rules one more time. Six months later came another crisis. Selection of one resident Dr. Kasturi Lal Garg was over when Dr. Srinivasa Murthy arrived very late with a letter from Professor of Psychiatry, Vellore for selection. I again went to Dr. Chhuttani who was generous and gave me permission to take him. It is difficult to imagine such freedom to Heads of Department in selection of residents in the present time. But the results prove that my instincts were right and all these residents we selected had outstanding record in their career. The next batch in 1970, had equally brilliant four residents. Dr. Anil Suri, Dr. Anirudh Kala , Dr. Anindya Ghosh and Dr. Virindra Mohan. I would love to mention the names of all subsequent residents selected during my time (the last one was Dr. Ajit Avasthi) but space does not permit me to go on. However, I must record one more land mark in 1974 when all the three selected residents were ladies. Dr. Usha Rao (Naik), Dr.Savita Gupta (Malhotra) and Dr. Sudha Jain. This was the first time that any woman resident took up psychiatry as a speciality in P.G.I. The results of their progress in the profession is there for all to see.