M.R.Rajagopal MD

M.R.Rajagopal MD

Chairman, Pallium India, and Director, Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences Trivandrum, Kerala, India

E-mail: mrraj47@gmail.com, info@palliumindia.org
Skype: mrraj47

Dr M.R. Rajagopal feels strongly that the needless pain and suffering from life-limiting diseases in the developing world is scandalous, and works at identifying barriers and strategies to overcome them. He was one of the founders of the pioneering Pain and Palliative Care Society in Calicut in Kerala, India which made palliative care a popular movement in that state and the founder of Pallium India (www.palliumindia.org) which works towards improving access to palliative care in India.

Other Appointments

  • International Associate Faculty, The Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice, San Diego, California, USA, 2012 to present
  • Coordinator, Post-graduate Board on Palliative Medicine, Medical Council of India.
  • Vice-chair, Asia Pacific Hospice Network (APHN)
  • Member of Developing Countries Task Force, International Association for Study of Pain (IASP)
  • Lifetime advisor, and member of Task Force on Access to Medicines, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC)
  • Member, International Experts Committee, WHO Collaborating Center at Madison-Wisconsin, USA
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Palliative Medicine, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Australia. 15-30 April 2011

Key Accomplishments

  • Prime mover in the development of “National Standards for Palliative Care in India”, 2006-2008
  • Founder of Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences, Trivandrum, Kerala, India, 2006
  • Started the first university-recognized postgraduate course in Pain and Palliative Medicine in India (in Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi), 2004
  • Founder of a charitable trust by name “Pallium India” which aims at improving coverage with quality in palliative care in India, concentrating mostly on areas inadequately addressed by existing organizations, particularly education and rehabilitation, 2003
  • Worked with the WHO Collaborating Center at Madison-Wisconsin and with Government of India to improve opioid availability in India. The work has so far resulted in simplification of narcotic regulations in 13 states in India as well as in uninterrupted availability of oral morphine from the Government Opium and Alkaloid factories in India, 1996-current
  • One of the founders of Pain and Palliative Care Society (PPCS) in Medical College, Calicut, in 1993. In 1995, it was recognized as a model demonstration project by the World Health Organisation, known for its suitability to the socio-cultural needs of the country, for its novel training programs and for its roots in the community. Over ten years, it developed into the biggest Palliative Care Centre in the country incorporating a major “Institute of Palliative Medicine” (IPM). Today, it has more than 100 link centres in various parts of Kerala.

Education / Honors

  • 10 weeks’ Certificate Course in Palliative Care, International School for Cancer Care, Oxford, U.K. – September-November, 1993
  • Membership of National Academy of Medical Sciences (MNAMS) in National Board of Examinations in Anesthesiology; 1987
  • Doctor of Medicine – Post-graduate Medical Degree in Anesthesiology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from Medical College, Trivandrum, 1971
  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) from St Berchman’s College, University of Kerala in First Class with Professor John Memorial Gold Medal, 1965

Key Publications
Journal articles

  • Rajagopal MR, Joranson DE. India: opioid availability – an update. J Pain Symptom Manage 2007; 33:5: 615-622.
  • Harris JT, Sureshkumar K, Rajagopal MR. Intravenous morphine for rapid control of severe cancer pain. Palliative Medicine, 2003; 17:248-256.
  • Joranson DE; Rajagopal MR; Gilson AM. Improving access to opioid analgesics for palliative care in India. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2002; 24(2):152-9.
  • Rajagopal MR, Joranson DE, Gilson AM. Medical use, misuse and diversion of opioids in India. The Lancet. 2001. 358: 139-143.
  • Rajagopal MR, Sureshkumar K. Organisation of a palliative care service – the calicut experiment. Indian Journal of Palliative Care. 1997; 3(2); 15-19.

Books & chapters in books:

  • Rajagopal MR, Twycross RG. Providing palliative care in resource-poor countries. . In: Hanks G, Cherny NA, Fallon M, Kaasa S, Portenoy RK (eds), Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine 4th (ed). Oxford University Press, Oxford; 2009.
  • Rajagopal MR, Mazza D, Lipman AG (ed) Pain and Palliative Care in the Developing World and Marginalized Populations: A Global Challenge. Haworth Medical Press, New York, 2003.

Key Presentations

  • Pain in the developing world. Plenary Lecture. World Pain Congress: International Association for Study of Pain (IASP), Glasgow, UK, 18-22 August 2008
  • India: Successes, Limitations and Lessons to Learn. Plenary lecture. Bi-annual conference of International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency. New York. 21-24 June 2007
  • Distinguished lecture series, University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Victoria. May 2007.


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