The period of 1990's
was celebrated as the decade of 'The Brain'. In India, towards the end of that decade, an initiative was taken by a small group of neuroanaesthesiologists in Delhi to start a neuroanaesthesiology society, where clinicians devoted to this sub-speciality could meet and deliberate. In fact, this was the dream of many practicing neuroanaesthesiologists.
In February 1995, Prof. H. H. Dash, Head of Neuroanaesthesiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, organised the First International Symposium on Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care. That was a very successful meeting and for the first time, anaesthesiologists interested in neuroanaesthesia could interact with many distinguished international faculty. Subsequently, in 1996, Dr. H. H. Dash, Dr. K. J. Choudhury and Late Dr. (Brig) P. N. Bhatt conceptualised the idea of forming a Neuroanaesthesiology Society of India akin to the international body, the SNACC (then, Society of Neuroanesthesiology and Critical Care). Prof. A. K. Bannerji, Director of VIMHANS (Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences), New Delhi at that time, gave this pioneer group at New Delhi, not only moral support but also shared his experience on formation of Neurological Society of India (NSI) which was a trust from its inception. Three years later (February 1999) this dream became a reality when a small group of neuroanaesthesiologists once again met in the library of VIMHANS and took a decision on the formation of the Indian Society of Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care (ISNACC). The task of organising the inaugural conference was entrusted to GB Pant Hospital, Delhi (Dr. Mary Abraham, Organising Secretary), and this was successfully organised in September 1999. Unfortunately, Dr. (Brig) P. N. Bhatt passed away tragically in a car accident before the conference. Since then, the annual conference has become a regular feature and it is being organised with great enthusiasm every year in different parts of India (See Past ISNACC Conferences). There has been an overwhelming response each year to this annual event. Meanwhile, the ISNACC Newsletter was also started by Dr. Neelam Ganguly, Senior Consultant of Anaesthesiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi in 2003 and this is now a bi-annual feature with Dr. H. H. Dash being the Editor.
The main objective of ISNACC is to encourage and facilitate the young members of the Society to improve their knowledge and skills in this field. To this end, ISNACC is providing financial support in the form of research grants and travel allowances for neuroanaesthesiologists to attend international conferences since 2008. The decision in this regard was taken after the ISNACC - 2007 (New Delhi) conference. In the same year, an official website of the Society was launched by Dr. Dilip Kulkarni. Another important initiative taken by the Society was to start 'The Indian Neuroanaesthesiology and Critical Care Trust' which was accomplished in 2009 with the untiring efforts of Dr. G. Parameswara and Dr. H. K. Venkatesh, then Secretary and Treasurer of ISNACC, respectively.
Teaching and training in neuroanaesthesia and neurointensive care is of vital importance for provision of quality care to neurologically injured patients. In 2008, an education committee was formed to make a standard curriculum for postdoctoral neuroanaesthesia training courses. Subsequently, in 2010 during the mid-term meeting of the executive body at Kolkata, a decision to start a 'one-year fellowship course of Neuroanaesthesia' under the aegis of ISNACC was taken. It was decided that the Society would offer this postdoctoral fellowship course if a particular institution meets with the necessary criteria (laid down by ISNACC to start the course). Fortis Hospital, Noida was the first hospital to start such fellowship course in 2011, and two candidates from this hospital were awarded fellowship during ISNACC - 2012 at Bhopal. Recently, several hospitals (both private and government) have shown interest to start this Fellowship program.
The Society has now progressed, gained momentum, and affiliated itself with International societies such as Asian Society for Neuroanesthesiology and Critical Care (ASNACC) and Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (SNACC). Hosting the 2nd ASNACC Conference along with ISNACC - 2011 at New Delhi under the leadership of Dr. H. H. Dash, is a testimony to that. With the sincere effort of all its members, ISNACC is sure to make a mark in the international arena.
[Compiled by Prof. Mary Abraham, Additional Director of Neuroanaesthesia, Fortis Hospital, Noida]