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Past Directors

Directors of the AIIMH

Dr. MV Govindaswamy (1954-1959)

Dr. Govindaswamy, the founder Director of the All India Institute of Mental Health (AIIMH), was instrumental in envisioning the AIIMH as an interdisciplinary institute that integrated the study of Brain and Mind. He was responsible for putting the Institute on the world map of mental health. He introduced Indian philosophy and English literature into the psychiatry curriculum, adding new dimension to the study of the subject. He also stressed on blending eastern and western medical practices to gain deeper insights into mental health and neurosciences.

Dr. DLN Murti Rao (1960-1962)

Dr. Murti Rao joined the Mysore Government Mental Hospital as Assistant Surgeon in 1945. He later became Superintendent and then Director of the AIIMH until his unexpected demise. He was an erudite scholar, excellent clinician, and outstanding teacher. His main areas of interest was mental retardation. He was the first Mysorean to be elected as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh in 1962.

Dr. BD Punekar (1963)

Dr BD Punekar joined the AIIMH as Associate Professor, Biochemistry Department in 1958. DrPunekar became Head of Department in 1960 and served as Director for a brief period in 1963. During his tenure at the AIIMH, he conducted extensive research on biochemical changes in mental disorders and in treatments.

Dr. Keki Masani (1963-1964)

Dr. Masani served briefly as Director of the AIIMH. His area of interest was child psychiatry. He was instrumental in the opening of several child guidance clinics and counselling centres for adolescents and college students. His major contribution was the founding of the Indian Council of Mental Health in 1944.

Dr. NC Surya (1965-1968)

Dr. Surya joined the AIIMH in 1958, became Professor of Psychiatry in 1964, and subsequently Director. His significant contribution to psychiatric research included publication of the first field survey on mental morbidity in India. He also introduced the practice of detailed statistical analysis of admissions and discharges at the mental hospital. Dr. Surya is recognised for his work on transcultural psychiatry and pioneering views on psychotherapy in the Indian setting.

Dr. K Bhaskaran (1969)

Dr. Bhaskaran’s stint as Director of the AIIMH was brief. He was Professor at the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), Ranchi and served as its Director between 1965-1976, except for the period as Director of the AIIMH in 1969. In 1975, he was appointed as Deputy Director General of Health Services by the Government of India. His main interests were in psychosomatic medicine and stress.

Directors of NIMHANS

Dr. R Martanda Varma (1969-1977; 1978-1979)

Dr. RM Varma joined the AIIMH as Professor of Neurosurgery. He became Director of the AIIMH in 1969 and continued to head the Institute, through its reorganisation as NIMHANS, until 1979. In 1977-78, he was appointed as Deputy Director General of Health Services, Government of India. He served as Honorary Surgeon to the President of India and as Advisor in Mental Health and Neurosurgery to the Government of India. His signal contribution was the establishment of NIMHANS in 1974 as an autonomous institute with bi-governmental and university participation. Dr. Varma has many awards to his credit, including the Rajyotsava Award (1969), Padmashri (1972) and Sir Vishweshwariah Award (1998). The personal rapport he shared with his colleagues and subordinates endeared him to everyone.

Dr. KS Mani (1977-1978)

Dr. Mani served as Director of NIMHANS during 1977-78. He joined the Neurology Department at the AIIMH in 1957. He was the founder member of the Indian Epilepsy Association in 1970. Dr. Mani was instrumental in starting systematic data recording in the Neurology Department.

Dr. GN Narayana Reddy (1979-1989)

Dr. Narayana Reddy joined the Mental Hospital in 1956. Dr. Reddy went on to head the Department of Neurosurgery, became Superintendent and then Director of NIMHANS. During his tenure as Director, the Integrated Outpatient Department, Rehabilitation Centre, were started. Five new Departments were added: Neurovirology, Epidemiology, Psychopharmacology, Health Education and Human Genetics. He received the Rajyotsava award in the field of medicine.

Dr. SM Channabasavanna (1989-1997)

Dr. Channabasavanna joined AIIMH as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in 1968. He later became Superintendent ( ) and the Director of NIMHANS ( ). NIMHANS became a Deemed University during his tenure and he became its first Vice Chancellor. The first systematic survey of Mental Health Care Institutions in the country sponsored by National Human Rights Commission was undertaken under his leadership. He has won many awards including the Rajyotsava award.

Dr. M Gourie-Devi (1997-2002)

Dr. Gourie-Devi joined NIMHANS as Associate Professor of Neurology in 1977. She was involved in building the Electromyography (EMG) services at NIMHANS. One of her landmark initiatives in public health was the conducting of the Bangalore urban rural neuroepidemiological (BURN) survey, in 1982, covering 102,000 people in and around Bangalore. This was the first large scale population based neuroepidemiological survey in India and attracted international and national attention.

During her tenure, the state-of-the-art Convention Centre was built. She created specialised clinical facilities such as Stroke Unit, Advanced Centre for Ayurveda . She has won many prestigious awards, including the Om Prakash Bhasin award and BC Roy award.

Dr. D Nagaraja (2002-2010)

Dr. Nagaraja joined as Lecturer in Neurology (in 1980) and later became Director. He undertook the evaluation of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and gave impetus to psychosocial care during disasters. During his tenure, a Gamma Knife Unit was set up. Dr. Nagaraja has received many awards—Rajyotsava award, and BC Roy award to name a few.

Dr. SK Shankar (2010)

Dr. SK Shankar headed the Institute as Director for a brief period in 2010. He joined the Neuropathology Department in 1979 and later became Dean. His main research interests are neuroinfections, especially HIV/AIDS and rabies, neurodegeneration, brain banking and pathology of epilepsy. His study, with Dr. Vasudeva Rao, on autopsies of cases of Japanese encephalitis which struck Bangalore in 1979, is widely acclaimed. Dr. Shankar was instrumental in setting up of the Neuropathological Museum. He has played a pivotal role in the upkeep and popularisation of the Human Brain Bank, the only one of its kind in the country. He has many awards and honours, including the BC Roy Award, to his credit.


 Dr. P Satish Chandra (2010 - 2015)

Dr. P Satish Chandra is the present Director and Vice-Chancellor of NIMHANS. He joined NIMHANS as a faculty member in the Neurology Department soon after obtaining his DM (Neurology) from NIMHANS in 1981. Dr. Satish Chandra’s work in the areas of epilepsy, neuro-epidemiology and neuro infections including neuro-AIDS has been recognised internationally. He has been actively involved in creating awareness about epilepsy and removing the stigma of epilepsy through the ‘Epilepsy Control Programme’ in India. He has several prestigious fellowships, awards and publications to his credit, prominent among these being the ‘Asia Oceanian Outstanding Achievement Award in Epilepsy’ and the WHO-Fogarty-NIH sponsored ‘International Neuro-Sciences Fellowship’. His strenuous efforts coupled with significant developments helped NIMHANS achieve the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ by an Act of Parliament in September 2012. 

Message from past Director English 

Message from Past Director Kannda