Nobel nominee from India on US tour

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Hailing from Kerala, India, where he has devoted himself and his life’s work to palliative care and pain relief among some of the world’s poorest sufferers, Dr MR Rajagopal, or “Dr Raj” as he is known to patients and colleagues alike, will embark on a five-week, multi-city North American tour to share his philosophy of compassionate caring and the need for greater access to relatively inexpensive pain medications throughout the world.
A nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Raj discovered his passion for easing pain while travelling all over Kerala (population 37 million) treating patients too sick to come to clinic. Realizing the need for more clinicians in the area of palliative care and pain management, he set up a network of providers throughout northern Kerala, now recognized as one of the world’s most effective community-based care programs in the world.
“If they find you to be a human being, and not just a white-coated machine, then they react to us with smiles, maybe with jokes,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “That’s happiness, that transformation of people. Then you see such amazing strength in people, patients and family members.”

In 1993, he founded, with others, India’s Pain and Palliative Care Society (PPCS) in the Medical College, Calicut, and two years later the World Health Organization recognized it as a model demonstration project. In 2003, Dr. Raj founded Pallium India, a charitable trust which aims to improve the coverage and accessibility of quality palliative care in India. Now, Dr. MR Rajagopal is one of the nominees for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, to be awarded in Oslo later this year.
Beginning March 9, Dr. Raj will embark on a five-week North American speaking tour that will include stops in Toronto, Kingston, ON, Ottawa, New York, Columbus, OH, Madison, WI, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanford, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Washington DC, Seattle, Victoria, BC, Vancouver, Houston and Atlanta. In both public and clinical forums at some of the continent’s most prestigious universities and medical centers, Dr. Raj will speak to the charge that modern medicine – driven by corporate profits and skyrocketing costs – has lost its way; how medical systems throughout the world are fueling increasing poverty; his unique view of euthanasia from a global health perspective, and the global crisis in untreated pain due to mounting regulations surrounding the use of illicit medications.

In conjunction with Dr. Raj’s presentations at prestigious medical centers, screenings will be held throughout the U.S. of a new documentary feature film called Hippocratic, a powerful biographical film about Dr. Raj which reveals the challenges of delivering health care in low-resource settings, the tragedy of unnecessary suffering, but also the opportunity and empowerment of delivering ethical, whole-person care through a grassroots movement. This is a must-see documentary for all those interested in the power of the human spirit, human rights and social justice, and essential viewing for anyone working in health care, medicine, nursing and public health.

The film is presented by Demand.Film a “cinema-on-demand” distributor that brings unique documentary films to viewers on the big screen, as they are meant to be seen. Screenings of Hippocratic will take place all over the U.S. throughout March and April. Seats must be reserved in advance.
The NY Times has called Dr. Rajagopal “the father of palliative care in India.” It was said of him when he accepted the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism oration from the Human Rights Watch, “Alternatively wearing the hats of clinician, health program administrator, academic, spokesperson and activist, Dr. Rajagopal has been a major global force behind efforts to implement and promote the rights of patients with severe pain to live and die with dignity.”

Here is a list of the screenings that have been scheduled so far:
March 13 (6:30 pm) – New York City: Regal Union Square Stadium 14
March 28 ((6:30 pm) – San Francisco (Daly City): Century 20 Daly City and XD
April 2 (6:30 pm) – Cupertino, CA: AMC Cupertino Sq. 16
April 5 (6:30 pm) — Washington, DC: Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14
April 16 (6:30 pm) — Tom’s River, NJ: AMC Seacourt 10
April 25 (6:30 pm) — Milwaukee (Wauwatosa), WI: AMC Mayfair 18