July 2014    
Thinking Aloud Podium We Recommend Standing Ovation
Memo to the Corporate Athlete – Jay Interview with Dr. Aniruddha B. Chandorkar , Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune

The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media by Shaili Chopra Ankur Vidya Mandir - Pune

Dear Reader,Executive Health

The adage “Health is Wealth” is a maxim which most of us are familiar with. On one side, where health is as important as wealth on the other side it indicates that a healthy person can work with efficiency to earn wealth. In the times that we live in today, we seem to have forgotten the very essence of this maxim. Looking from another point of view, a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce and therefore employers today have indicated that the wellbeing of employees is of paramount importance. This is further reinforced by alarming statistics which reveal that employees today suffer from inadequate physical activity, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases, weight and blood pressure problems and stress that one has to tackle with at the workplace. These are also concerns seen with women who are increasingly joining the workforce the world over.

The fact remains that prevention is certainly better than cure, since a majority of health concerns is caused by preventable, modifiable health risks. Although challenges persist, employers are providing for and investing in employee wellness. On the personal front too, we must make a constant effort to ensure good health and best practise to ensure this before it is too late.

ET features the subject Executive Health this month.

In Thinking Aloud, Jay highlights the importance of health through examples of how corporate magnates have learnt and practised the same. He looks at the ‘burn out’ phenomena plaguing business executives today. Although there are various factors disturbing the work life balance, one cannot blame the corporation for poor personal health. In fact, the truth of the matter is that the person himself is solely responsible for his personal health. Jay is of the opinion that the ‘Corporate Athlete’ needs to wake up and set his priorities right before it is too late.

This month on the Podium, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Aniruddha Chandorkar, gives us his views on Executive Health. Various factors have affected the health of a number of workers: increasing stress levels, coupled with wrong eating habits and lack of physical activity, to name a few. Despite the advancement of medicine, prevention still remains the most cost effective method of any strategy approach for effective disease prevention. He is of the opinion that the Indian mind-set ignores various health issues affecting them. Dr. Chandorkar, through his years of experience also mentions that women tend to be better patients than men in the compliance of all health related measures.

In We Recommend, author Shaili Chopra’s book ‘The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media’ which is India's first documented insight into social media use by politicians and its impact on voters, is reviewed this month. There is no doubt whatsoever that one is bombarded with various social media options – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to point out a few. The author tries to trace the dawn of social media in India and how it plays a pivotal role in defining Indian politics and the way the youth of the country connects today. The book captures some defining moments that compare the use of social media by politicians in the US, UK and India.

Standing Ovation features Pune based Ankur Vidya Mandir (Ankur). Ankur provides educational facilities to children of all backgrounds, imparting both knowledge and values to them. Ankur is based on the ideology of ‘inclusion’ and equality in educational opportunities. It also adopts various methods, techniques and means of teaching in order to cater to each child’s abilities. Technology and culture are two sides of the same coin at Ankur Vidya Mandir. Children are able to reach an academic plateau through various technology based tools, field trips and experiments.

In Figures of Speech, some food for thought from Vikram’s Dr.Toon.

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Thinking Aloud

Memo to the Corporate Athlete - Jay
A well-known business magnate known for his penchant for fitness has this story to tell:

‘When I took up running, my father said, “Look son, you can buy any luxury you want in life, from clothes to food, from a home to a holiday, but you can never buy health. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel good.” How right he was. At that time I weighed 105 kg and could not even walk 1 kilometre in an hour! But by running, I came down to 68 kgs. I lost one-third of my body weight and became 36 kgs lighter. To be able to run the Half Marathon, which is 22 kms, in 1 hour 29 minutes and 11 seconds, is quite an achievement for a businessman I think.’

Today, Anil Ambani’s transformation story is part of corporate lore. And, strange as it may sound, if there is one sport that rivals golf for senior executives’ interest, it is running marathons! With the likes of N. Chandrasekaran (of TCS, marathon), Anand Mahindra (of the Mahindra group, running), Samir Thapar (JCT, rally driver & fitness buff), Naveen Jindal (Jindal Steel, shooting), R. Sivakumar (Intel, cycling), etc., serving as sterling examples, the era of the ‘Corporate Athlete’ is well and truly here in corporate India.

Why do they do it (running, biking, etc.)? In the words of James Jenness, Chairman of the Board at Kelloggs, and an avowed marathon runner, ‘besides being a confidence booster & self-esteem builder, running serves as a stress reliever, perspective re-gainer and re-invigorator.’ And, he opines that, “It makes you feel good about yourself and thereby you’re going to do better in business.”

Over a decade ago, Jim Loehr & Tony Shwartz, summarized their research with senior business executives by concluding that ‘sustained high achievement demands physical & emotional strength as well as a sharp intellect. To bring mind, body, and spirit to peak condition, executives need to learn what work-class athletes already know: recovering energy is as important as expending it.’

Coining the term ‘the Corporate Athlete’, they stressed that sustaining an ‘Ideal Performance State’ is a combination of using one’s physical, emotional, mental & spiritual capacities to the desired levels.

Given the intense pace of work in today’s world, business executives who fail to address all the above aspects are unknowingly walking towards an early end to their careers. The ‘burn-out’ phenomena is increasing and the heavy incidence of cardiac cases & a host of other executive ailments (blood pressure, back & neck related problems, stress & constant fatigue, sleep disorder, etc.) no longer makes headlines, and are common to both gender.

While there is a growing awareness of the physiological & psychological dimensions of this issue, the quest for work life balance to minimize the adverse impact of today’s working world has proved a difficult exercise. While a number of factors could be blamed for this imbalance (a constantly connected world of work through smartphones, combined with the barrage of social media signals, etc.), the fact remains that the final arbiter of one’s health is the individual himself. Blame not the corporation for stress if you have chosen your priorities poorly: personal health in all its dimensions (physical, psychological & spiritual) has to figure in your daily habits. The old adage of ‘health is wealth’ has been forgotten at the altar of mammon. As Anil Ambani’s father advised him, this is one aspect that money cannot buy.

Why wait for a rude wake up call from your physician that you have undercapitalized your personal future by ignoring your present health? For all those executives still in denial and pleading lack of time, it is essential to remember that just like an Olympic athlete who trains right through out his career (with appropriate off-season & on-season regimen), the Corporate Athlete too needs to maintain – and sustain – a conscious & holistic schedule of well-being if he or she wishes to have a long & successful business career of Olympian proportions. And, the right time to address this issue is NOW!

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Dr. Aniruddha B. Chandorkar - Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune

Dr. Aniruddha B. Chandorkar is the Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune. He was formerly a Postgraduate teacher in Medicine at K E M Hospital and University of Pune for 14 years, which involved teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate medical students from the B J Medical College, Pune. Dr. Chandorkar is also a Consultant (visiting faculty) Interventional Cardiologist at Vivekanand Hospital and Alpha Superspeciality Hospital, Latur and Director at Nandadeep Hospital and Cardiac Centre, Pune, the first cath lab with an integrated IVUS and FFR in India.

He is actively involved in the development of transesophageal echocardiography as a diagnostic modality in India, and has conducted the first hands-on training workshop on Transesophageal echocardiography at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in February 1995.

Actively involved in the development of fetal echocardiography as a means of antenatal diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease, he set up the first centre in Pune (with Dr. A. S. Kinare). Along with this, he is also actively involved in the application of telemedicine in India as a means of giving a second opinion and to develop expert opinion services based on telemedicine. He was part of the team that founded DrAnywhere.com, India's pioneering distance healthcare company.

Dr. Chandorkar was also a finalist at the prestigious “Sational Challenge” 2000, a worldwide contest for software and product developers.

ET:  What is Executive Health all about and why is it gaining importance the world over?

AC:   Preservation of good health is the primary objective of any population based healthcare strategy. Despite the many advances in cutting edge technology in each of the varied fields of clinical medicine, prevention still remains the most cost effective method of any strategy based on a large cohort. The economics of a drug based (despite the many new, very highly effective drugs) and device based (with the horrendous implications to the entire population at risk) just do not allow this to be seriously considered in any society/country as a viable long term strategy. Therefore the entire approach for effective disease prevention is exactly that: PREVENTIVE. One of the basic tenets of preventive medical strategy is lifestyle correction and changes to a healthier one and also attempt to identify problems if any, at an earlier date before they create any irreparable harm for the individual concerned.

As the degradation of lifestyles has chiefly affected the most productive segment of the working population principally in an urban environment, most of these efforts are also targeted at them. The basic objective being, to preserve the health of the workforce - the lifeblood of society.

ET:  In today’s fast paced world, what factors contribute to the number of cases related to lifestyle diseases and concerns which are on an upward trajectory?
AC:  Increased stress levels, eating too much and eating the wrong kind of food, too much alcohol, tobacco usage in a variety of ways, lack of physical exercise, increased prevalence of obesity, and an ageing population with (at least in the developed economies) declining birth rates which has reduced the number of “workers” for society. These are what are considered as MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS. Non-modifiable risk factors include age, gender and ethnicity.

ET:  You have been associated with the early experiments in distance patient care in India (also called telemedicine) through DrAnywhere.com. What are your views on the state of telemedicine today?

AC:  Excellent!! The present scenario and the future look great. DrAnywhere.com was way ahead of the curve and paid the price for pioneering efforts in that direction. Today the easy availability of devices and connectivity from virtually anywhere as well as the continued gross inequality of spread of expert personnel across the length and breadth of the country makes telemedicine even more desirable as a means of addressing shortfalls of the kind that exists in India.

ET:  With your experience in heart related problems and diseases, what is your advice to our readers to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

AC:  I (and doctors of my generation) have witnessed the greatest exponential rise in the incidence of circulatory diseases that have been seen in the history of mankind. Disease prevalence and incidence grew so rapidly that it outstripped the preparedness of societies and also the worst fears anyone could’ve had.

When medical definitions change within 2 decades, it is remarkable, as it did with the age definition of a young victim of heart attack for example, by a FULL decade: brought down from 40 years to 30!!

Every Cardiologist in the country has treated scores of young kids (no other way of describing the situation) in their 20’s and 30’s with Myocardial Infarctions (MI), needing to perform angioplasties on junior colleagues and students and children of parents in their 5th decade of life.

The reasons are not difficult to seek, the greatest obstacle is the Indian mind-set of being in denial about a potential killer and believing that “Illness only affects their neighbours”!! Look at the lack of regular exercise and of the tremendous rise in tobacco/ethanol usage as well as of obesity in such a short span of 2 decades.

Everyone has access to the internet and therefore does not have the opportunity of hiding behind the veil of ignorance.. Open your minds and heal yourself.

If you persist in remaining in denial, “The eyes will not see, the ears will not hear, what the mind does not know….”

ET:  With increasing number of women joining the workforce, please comment on the Executive Health challenges which are important for them to be cautious about.

AC:  Women used to be considered to be protected from vascular disease as against their male counterparts. While it remains true even now, the degree of protection they enjoyed has certainly declined dramatically, the moment a woman smokes/consumes tobacco in any other form or develops obesity/metabolic syndrome/diabetes, she ceases to enjoy the protection. All in all, a recipe for disaster. Also Indian women are no exception to their counterparts from developed societies in that they seek advice lesser and later than men. There is also a definitive need and opportunity for better structured women - specific preventive health programs.

The good news is, at least from my personal three decades of medical practice, women tend to be better patients than men in the compliance to all measures - lifestyle correction, pharmacological and non-pharmacological intervention which is more likely to be close to what the Physician expects.

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We Recommend

The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media by Shaili Chopra

The Big Connect: Social Media in the Age of Politics, written by Shaili Chopra, highlights the dawn of a ‘new age’ in Indian politics. Over the last decade, social media has transformed political campaigns around the world. The 2014 general elections in India saw social media play a decisive role in providing the BJP with a landslide victory.

The book provides examples and anecdotes from the 2014 election campaign. This was the first time election campaigns in India experimented with social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. Shaili Chopra examines how social media entered Indian politics, the impact and the ricochet. She parallels it to the social media campaign run by U.S. President Barack Obama in his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. The importance of a ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ cannot be underestimated as it may not influence a vote but it could help gather support or donations just as it did for the Aam Admi Party (AAP).

The author focuses on the campaigns spearheaded by Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, and Arvind Kejriwal. She notes specific online campaign strategies that benefitted political campaigns in India, for instance Modi’s Chaiwala (tea vendor) campaign and the multiple selfies, which took all the social media platforms by storm. Both these social media tactics were instrumental to Modi winning. With the Chaiwala campaign Modi was able to connect with the ordinary citizens of India and prove that at the core he was still one of them. The selfie campaign was brilliant as it targeted the youth population of India. This was crucial as the youth comprised of 50% (people under the age of 25) of India’s voters in the 2014 elections.

The elections in India saw the creation of hashtags and websites to help broaden the voter base. AAP adopted a "missed call" initiative, wherein anyone could register as a party member or a volunteer by simply calling a designated number and hanging up after one ring. Facebook and Twitter helped make the elections in India a social media war. Facebook has over 100 million users in India which makes it the largest social media platform. It also provided a more personal approach to the campaign as candidates could share photos and statuses to connect with the public. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter makes is easier for people to focus on the important things. It is short and succinct. It provided minute to minute updates which is vital in any campaign as it helps keep people engaged at all times.

The book highlights the pros and cons of social media. It provides instances of online campaigns that completely altered the elections either in favor or against you. While a majority of the examples in the book are limited to the campaign in India, there are a few examples that compare the use of social media by politicians around the world. U.S. President Barack Obama used social media to increase his voter base while the U.K. Prime Minister was extremely wary of Twitter and even cautioned people from his own party on the use of the social media site.

The book is extremely easy to navigate through and at the end of each chapter, the author has provided a brief summary of the important strategic moves and tools which helped make their campaign a success. The book is also a great resource for anyone who wishes to gather more information on social media as the author has made sure to note the websites, articles, and books that she has referenced after every chapter. The only drawback to the book is the lack of opinion provided by the author. Shaili Chopra has been sure not to give you her opinion regarding the use of social media. The book is based solely on facts, which can make it dreary at times.

The importance of social media is not limited to its role in politics. Social media has had a few defining moments over the years, this includes the Osama Bin Laden raid, the Boston Bombings, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the Delhi gang rape, etc. Social media has provided a voice for the masses. People have used this platform to gather support, be it for social change or political change. The tide of change has already begun with social media as its main instigator. The Indian elections provided one aspect of the power of social media. It will be interesting to see how these platforms will be utilized in the future and the part taken on by the public to ensure irrevocable changes.

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Standing Ovation

Ankur Vidya Mandir – Pune

Ankur Vidya Mandir (Ankur) in close association with the Centre for Opportunities and Rehabilitation (COER) and Deccan Education Society (DES) began operations in 1988 in Pune, Maharashtra. Ankur is more than just a school to a number of children it caters to, as it imparts both academic knowledge and moral values. Ankur Vidya Mandir has two campuses: one for pre & primary school and the other for secondary & high school.

Facilities/Services available at Ankur:

  • Ankur employs the use of a lot of additional teaching aids to make the process of learning more fun and interactive. Teaching aids are all syllabus based. Field trips and experiments are also conducted for the children to better understand what they actually learn and take in through classroom knowledge. Ankur also has a large library both for children of all age groups and teachers as well; this facility largely helps in self-learning in children.
  • The school year also holds an exhibition (called ‘Edu Fair’) of all the projects undertaken by the students, thereby providing a platform to display the entire syllabus based work that the children have done over the year. Apart from displaying their work, the children also get an opportunity to explain their projects to visitors.
  • Necessary tool to help children with special needs are also available at Ankur along with the necessary physiotherapy, speech therapy and remedial studies. Ankur has also tied up with Fergusson’s Physiotherapy College where children with more advanced conditions are given the requisite treatment.
  • Computer based speech therapy program called VOICE is given to all children with motor disabilities. The software turns computers into a powerful, comprehensive speech development tool. The speech therapy is administered under the able guidance of a trained and certified speech therapist.
  • Remedial teaching is imparted for children with learning disabilities.
  • Constant feedback is given to the remedial teachers by the parents of the child as well as class teachers. This helps the teacher decide whether a particular method is working or not.

To know more about Ankur, one can visit http://ankurvidyamandir.org/.

Here’s to Ankur for their noble cause for children!

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