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Our History

History of ACM

The medically qualified Microbiologists in Trivandrum , Kerala, India met in the Department of Microbiology, Medical College, Trivandrum on 15-12-1995. There were 18 participants. Dr. Mabel Legori, Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology, welcomed the gathering and suggested the need for an association or an academic body to be formed to bring out changes in the nature of Microbiology Laboratory Service.

Monthly meetings were held and the draft byelaw was presented by Dr. Mabel Legori at the 4th meeting on 1st March 1996. It was decided to have a journal for the Academy and the name “The Journal of the Academy of Clinical Microbiologists” (JACM) was approved at the meeting on 7th July 1996. The emblem was presented at this meeting and was also approved. The Academy of Clinical Microbiologists was registered as a Charitable Society at the Registrar’s Office, Trivandrum on 24th July 1996 (Reg. No. 668).

The formal inauguration took place on 12th August 1996 at the Silver Jubilee Auditorium, Medical College, Trivandrum.

President (Dr. Mabel Legori), Secretary (Dr. Kavita Raja), Treasurer (Dr. P.T. Iype), Editor (Dr. P.M. Sivan Pillai) and Sub-editor (Dr. M. Sumangala Bai)

The first issue of the JACM was released on 10th December 1997 at the one-day CME programme on “Antibiotic Use” held at the Medical College Auditorium. This was followed by the annual general body meeting when a decision was made to have conferences only once in three years and the founder membership period was extended upto 31st December 1998.

The Ist Triennial Conference took place at the Medical College Auditorium, Trivandrum on 2nd September 1999 with a pre-conference CME on “Recent Advances in Infection Management” on 1st September 1999.

The II Triennial Conference took place on 4th September 2002 at the IMA State Head Quarters, Trivandrum. The pre-conference CME programme was on Hospital Infection and Leadership Development. At last, the ball gained momentum with Dr. Krishna Prakash from Delhi as President, Dr. David Tompkins from Leeds (U.K) as Senior Vice President and Dr. Lizy Mathew from Trivandrum as Secretary. Dr.Mabel Legori took over as Editor of JACM and publishing was taken up actively.

The III Triennial Conference took place at the Govt. Medical College,Thiruvananthapuram on 2nd August 2005 with a pre-conference seminar on “Infectious Diseases and the Control of Epidemics.” Election of office bearers took place on 1st August 2005. Dr. David Tompkins from Leeds (U.K) became the President and Dr.Sumangala Bai (Senior Vice President), with Dr.Mabel Legori (Secretary), Dr.Anna Cherian (Treasurer) and Dr.Kavita Raja (Editor). ACM had 36 founder members and 108 life members as on 15th January 2007.

The IV Triennial Conference took place at Medical College, Trivandrum on 23rd August 2008 with a pre-conference CME on 22nd August, on "Changing trends in Hospital Infections". A totally new team were elected on the evening of 22nd August consisting of Dr.Sumangala Bai(President), Dr.Renu Mathew (Senior Vice-President), Dr.Anitha PM (Secretary) , Dr.MiniPN (Treasurer) and Dr.Muralidharan (Editor)

The Website was inaugurated at Medical College, Calicut, Kerala, India on 20th February 2010 by the Professor and Head of Microbiology, Dr.Rema Devi at the CME on Clinical Microbiology

Fifteen years after the inauguration of the Academy, the fifth triennial conference was also organised at Medical College, Trivandrum on 16th October, 2011. The theme of the pre-conference CME on 15th October was "Anti-microbial Resistance- Role of the Clinical Microbiologist". This was in the circumstance of rising anti-microbial resistance in the world and in India in particular. The role of the clinical Microbiologist was getting more clearly felt and during the General body meeting a lively discussion was on how to improve the MD curriculum so that the future consultants in Microbiology could meet the challenge of antibiotic stewardship. The new team elected included : Dr.Renu Mathew-President, Dr.Prithi Nair- Vice-President, Dr.Lancy J - 2nd Vice-President ,Dr.Anitha Pm- Secretary, Dr.Mini PN- Treasurer and Dr.Ramani Bai- Editor. Membership at the time of GB stood at 202 and growing.

For the first time, the Triennial Conference was organised outside Trivandrum and for the first time, an additional day of workshop was also introduced. The workshop was on practice of clinical microbiology- by a team of Dr.Mitul Patel from Birmingham, UK and Dr.Sanjay Bhattacharya from Kolkota . They were complemented by a team of spirited clinicians from Medical College, Thrissur to conduct a sparkling session on interaction between clinician and microbiologist. \the second day on CME, was handled by expert faculty including Dr.Savithri Sharma from Hyderabad, Dr.Vaidehi and Dr.Sangeetha Joshi. Tuberculosis management was discussed at length by Dr.Sanjeev Nair, Chest diseases, Trivandrum. As is the practice, the 5th ACM Oration was delivered by the outgoing President, Dr.Renu Mathew, on Parasitic diseases. The new team consisting of Dr.Prithi Nair, President, Dr.Chithra Premkumar, Secretary and Dr.Reena John, Treasurer took charge. Dr.Kavita Raja got another turn at Editorship with a totally new team to support her. Now that the journal is online with Medknow, it is hoped that more good quality articles will be published. After the GB meeting, it was decided to increase the membership fee and also the article fee, due to the escalating costs of publishing. New initiatives like Eqas program, curriculum development etc. are on the anvil.

Seventh Triennial Conference of ACM was held at Govt Medical College, Kozhikode from 4 th to 6 th August 2017. The theme was “Current concepts and Diagnostic Challenges in Clinical Microbiology”. There were two pre-conference workshops on Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing(Dr.Sohan Lal and Dr.Kavita Raja), Mycology(Dr.Rema Devi and Dr.Fairoz CP) and Mycobacteriology(Dr.Gomathi NS and Dr.Aishwarya P). On 5 th August, for the CME on the same topic, the speakers were Dr.Arunaloke Chakraborthy, Dr.Renjani Ramachandran from the WHO County Office, Dr.Sanjay Bhattacharya, Dr.Savitha Nagara and Dr.Anup R Warrier. The afternoon session was interesting being mainly discussion on Hepatitis viruses and a panel discussion on outbreaks led by Dr.Anitha PM. On the day of the Conference , the new team(2017-20) took charge with Dr.Lancy as President, Dr.Manjusree as Secretary, Dr.Reena John as Treasurer and Dr.Sahira as Jt Secretary. Dr.Sanjay Bhattacharya took over as Chief Editor of the JACM.

The first CME of 2018 was conducted in Govt Medical College Thrissur organized by Dr Preethi Nair Professor and Head of Department of Microbiology, Govt Medical College Thrissur.The second CME of 2018 was on “Recent Advances in Clinical Microbiology” held in Government Medical College, Ernakulam, Kerala on Aug 4 th 2018 organised by Dr.J.Lancy ,Professor and Head of Department of Microbiology, Govt Medical College,Ernakulam.In the Academic meeting held in connection with the CME there was discussion about the problem with the appointment of MSc Microbiologists in Medical Colleges. Regarding this matter, a letter which was signed by the office bearers of ACM has been sent to MCI, AIPCMA,TCMC and IMA .

The next CME was held at Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, India in December 10 and 11 th 2018. CME and Workshop “Bio-safety and the use of Technology and Knowledge bank in Modern Medical Practice “held in Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, India on Dec 10 and 11 th 2018 . The programme was organised by Dr.Sanjay Bhattacharya ,Professor and Head of Department of Microbiology, Tata Medical Center,Kolkata. The CME was very special to all ACM members as it was supported by CDC (Centres for Disease Control, India).

Dr. Sherwal, IAMM President, expressed his interest to collaborate with organisations like ACM and to maintain interdisciplinary and inter-association relations where all associations could work together along with clinicians.

The next CME of 2019 was held in Hyderabad , India Which was organised by Dr.Ranganathan Iyer, Senior Consultant in Clinical Microbiology, ID and Infection Control, Gleneagles Global and Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Hyderabad and Dr.Radha Rani, HOD and Chief Infection Control Officer, Basavatharakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute. CME programme wason “Infectious Diseases and its impact on public health”.

The first CME of 2020(CMID 2020) was held at Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology on Feb 29 th 2020 which was organised by Dr.Kavita Raja Vice Pesident ACM Professor and Head of Department of Microbiology, SCTIMST, Trivandrum Kerala India.

The 8th Triennial Conference was postponed to March 18th to 20th 2021 and was conducted fully online. The COVID19 pandemic resulted in cancellation of the General body to be held at St Johns Medical College Bangalore on 7th August 2020. However, it was necessary to elect the new office bearers and present the audited report. Election was conducted online. There were only single candidates for all the vacant posts and hence ballot polling was not necessary. The list of candidates was sent by e mail to all members and since no objection was raised by anybody it was decided that all those who applied for the vacant posts could be installed by an online meeting of current office bearers and new office bearers. The ACM online meeting was scheduled for 05.09.2020 from 6.30 pm to 8pm.Current (2017-2020) and new (2020-2023) office bearers of ACM were invited to join Google meet using a link.Dr.Muralidharan S was elected as the new President, Dr.Kavita Raja, the new Vice-President and Dr.Rakesh Sehgal took over as the new 2 nd Vice-President. Dr.Baijayanthi Mishra became the new Secretary and Dr.Smitha Mary Rockey, the new Treasurer. Dr.Ranganathan Iyer became the Chief Editor of JACM and Dr.V.Mangayarkarasi, the new Jt Secretary.

In view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the Eighth Triennial Conference of the Academy of Clinical Microbiologists was held from 18th to 20thMarch 2021 online from 1 to 4 p.m. organized by the Department of Microbiology at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore. The workshop on 18/3/2022 covered two important newer diagnostic techniques such asMALDI-TOF-standardization and implementation for routine use in a microbial laboratory and The molecular pursuit-Infectious Diseases.

The workshop was appreciated well by the participants. The scientific paper covered on day twowere by Dr. EKTA Gupta on “Viral Hepatitis-Recent advances in diagnosis and management”, Dr. Kavita Raja “Infective Endocarditis diagnostic dilemma” and byDr. Jayanthi Savio“Cases Demystified (Fungal) using conventional and new diagnostic tests”. The third day was memorable as DR. Ragini Macaden, Ex-HOD of Microbiology of St. John’s Medical College was felicitated for her lifetime achievements on behalf of ACM& her oration was on “An odyssey in Microbiology” followed by free paper presentation by the registered participants.Two best prizes were awarded to the winners of both oral and poster presentation. Each registered participant was awarded 3 CME credit hours as applicable by the KMC.

1. Virtual CME on “Practical surveillance to improve IPC practices”
Dated 16.9.21
✓ Organized by the Department of Microbiology, KMC, Manipal with 3 scientific papers, covered by Dr. Namita Jaggi, Dr. Vijay S Richards, and Dr. Apurv Barchi followed by oral paper presentations by the postgraduates and prize award. The CME was organized by Dr. Shashidhar and Dr. KE Vandana.
2. Virtual CME on “Hospital associated infection- A global threat”
Dated 9.3.22
✓ Organized by the Department of Microbiology, Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute with 4 scientific papers, delivered by Dr. Anuj Sharma, Dr. Archana Angrup, Dr. Subha S, and Dr. Ranganathan Iyer followed by oral and poster presentations by the postgraduates, prize award, and 2 TNMC credit points.
3. Virtual CME on “Quality conscious molecular testing”
Dated 3.9.22
✓ Organized by the Department of Microbiology, KMCH Institute of Health Science and Research, Coimbatore with 7 scientific papers delivered by Major General Dr. R. Ravikumar, Dr. Varun Sundarmurthy, Dr. Sujata Chandrashekar, Dr. Sumit Rai, Dr. Rajesh Kannangai, Dr. Nilma Hirani, and Dr. Rohini Chawla followed by oral and poster presentations, quiz, and prize award.
4. Three days Hybrid CME/workshop
Held on the eve of St. John's Medical College Diamond Jubilee celebration on “A diagnostic approach to anaerobic infections”
Dated 27th to 29th March, 2023
✓ Organized by the Department of Microbiology with 7 scientific papers, delivered by Dr. Supriya BG, Dr. Rama Choudhry, Dr. Bhuvana Krishna, Dr. Savita Nagraj, Dr. Beena Anthony, Dr. Archana Angrup, Dr. Padmaja Shenoy followed by oral and poster presentations and prize award. The CME was followed by 2 days workshop.

The Ninth Triennial Conference of ACM(TRICON 2023) was conducted at Hotel Residency Tower in Trivandrum from September 30th to 2nd October 2023 with the theme Challenges in Clinical Microbiology. It was unique in that it was conducted jointly by the Departments of Microbiology at Government Medical College, Trivandrum, the Regional Cancer Centre and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology. On 30th September, the pre-conference CME featured parallel sessions in challenges in Clinical Virology and Clinical Mycology.The key note address was delivered by Dr. Tim Brooks, Clinical Services Director, Rare and imported Pathogens Laboratory, UK Health Security Agency, Salisbury. The topic was Viral infections-Global scenario and emerging threats. This talk led the audience through all the past threats and the emerging future threats discussed in length for each region of the world and the action taken by WHO to prevent and contain them. After the keynote address, the Minister for Health and family Welfare, Govt of Kerala, Smt Veena George carried out the inauguration of the conference in an online mode. The actual lamp lighting was done by the Joint Director of Medical Education, Dr.Geetha Ravindran and Dr. Linnette J Morris,the Principal of Govt Medical College, Trivandrum. The Director of RCC also gave her message through a recorded video, while the Director of SCTIMST was represented by Dr. Rupa Sreedhar, Medical Superintendent. She also released the proceedings and handed it over to the Principal. Organising Chairperson Dr. Manjusree, Head of Microbiology at Govt Medical College,Trivandrum welcomed all the dignitaries and Organising secretary,Dr. Jyothi, Professor of Microbiology at GMC, Trivandrum, gave the vote of thanks.

The parallel CMEs on Clinical Mycology and Clinical Virology was wellattended by over 300 delegates. The topics discussed were “Arboviruses and Viral hemorrhagic fevers “ by Dr. E Sreekumar, Director of the Institute of advanced Virology. Dr. Aravind Reghukumar Head of Infectious Diseases at Govt Medical college, Trivandrum, then dealt with his clinical experience of Viral fevers, syndromic or otherwise. The afternoon sessions were devoted to solutions, like the talk by Dr. Tim Broks on National imported fever service of UK and a talk on Chronic viral hepatitis, by Dr, Srijaya, from the Department of Gastroenterology, Govt Medical College, Trivandrum. In the Clinical Mycology parallel session, the speakers were Dr. Anupma Jyothi Kindo, Professor of Microbiology from Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai on Diagnostic Challenges in Mycology, Anti-fungal stewardship by Dr Jayanthi Savio Professor and Head of Microbiology from St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, Preventing fungal infections in transplant recipients(online) by Dr. Ranganathan Iyer from Gleneagles Hospital, Hyderabad. This was followed by Fungal infective endocarditis- a neglected Challenge by Dr. Kavita Raja, Head of Microbiology at SCTIMST.Dr. Mangayarkarasi, Head of Microbiology at AIIMS, Madurai, concluded the session by presenting Mycology case series from the perspective of diagnosis and research.

The general body meeting of ACM took place in the evening and the Office bearers elected for the next three years was announced by the Secretary of ACM, Dr. Baijayanthi Mishra, retired Professor at St John’s Medical College, Bangalore. Dr. Supriya Gachinmath , treasurer, from St John’s Medical College, presented the audited financial report for the past 3 years.

On 1 st October 2023, the session started with the installation of the new office bearers. Dr. S Muralidharan past President handed over the Garland of office to Dr. Kavita Raja. He reminisced about the contributions of Dr. Mabel Legori who had passed away in October 2023. He also remembered Dr. Smitha Mary Rockey, past treasurer whose sudden death was a shock to everyone. Dr. Baijayanthi Mishra, past secretary read out the report for the past three years and Dr. Ranjani Shamsunder,read out the report of the journal, JACM , from the editor in chief, Dr. Ranganathan Iyer. Dr. Kavita Raja took over as President of ACM and delivered the presidential address. She introduced all the other office bearers. Dr. Swapna R Nath took over as treasurer and Dr.Ranganathan Iyer retained his post as Chief editor of JACM. The Secretary , Dr. Mangayarkarasi delivered the vote of thanks.

The next main event was the ACM oration by Dr. Jagdish Chander, former Professor of Microbiology at GMC, Chandigarh and a senior member of ACM. The topic was “Mucormycosis in the era of viral pandemics”. This was followed by “ Free living amoebae – how great is the danger?” by Dr. Rakesh Sehgal, former Professor at PGIMER, Chandigarh. The industry took over and conducted three sessions just before lunch. There was a lively Panel discussion in the afternoon on Standarisation of antibiotic Susceptibility testing-is it feasible? , led by Dr. Aravind Reghukumar. Panelist included Dr. Sohanlal from UAE, Dr. David Wareham from UK ,Dr. Samitha Nair from KIMS Health, Trivandrum and Ms Sehr Brar who represented the WHO office in India. This was followed by an online session by Dr.Sanjay Bhattacharya, from Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, on Molecular diagnostics in Virology. Then it was Dr. Sohanlal, with his experience in “Pitfalls in lab diagnosis”.

The last day started with two overseas speakers, Dr. Benny Cherian who spoke on “organisational structure of infection control- sharing NHS experience and Dr. David Wareham, from Royal London Hospital, who spoke on “Spread of AMR in the Healthcare setting”. The delegates were then treated to a crossfire debate on antimicrobial prohylaxis, with Dr. Rajalakshmi from KIMS Health giving the actual guidelines for prophylactic antibiotics in the clinical setting and Dr. Shareeq , Consultant ID physician giving his opinion against prophylactic antibiotics. Dr. Anup Warrier, Consultant ID physician , Aster Medicity moderated the session . Then there was an online session covering outbreaks in mass gatherings by Dr. Shuja Shafi from MGHN, Harrow, UK. Dr. Dinoop KP, SCTIMST, spoke on Care bundles for post neurosurgery drainage devices and Dr. Swapna, from Regional cancer Centre presented her experience of non-tuberculous mycobacteria(NTM) in the setting of malignancy. Then came the much awaited event, a Microbiology quiz to select the Dr. Mabel Legori Ace Microbiologist Jr and Sr. This was the first of its kind, to encourage interest in microbiology at the UG level and to encourage the practise of Clinical microbiology at the PG level. After the preliminary round, 5 candidates selected from each level came for the contest. Dr. Dinoop and Dr. Swapna R Nath conducted the quiz. The prizes were sponsored by Dr. Asha Legori Varghese, daughter of Dr. Mabel Legori.

The unique feature of the Conference was that all oral paper presentations occurred on the main stage along with the speakers, based on the topic. A large number of posters were also displayed. This encouraged the junior faculty and the residents to interact with seniors in the field.

The ACM is committed to propagate the concept of practice of Clinical Microbiology. The ACM conducts 2 CMEs every year and 2issues of the Journal of Academy of Clinical Microbiologists are released yearly. There are 481 members [36 founder members & 445 life members] enrolled in the Academy of Clinical Microbiologists as on 1st March 2024.