A tribute to Dr Prakash Shetty who passed away on September 3
Chennai, September 4, 2018: Dr Prakash Shetty, CEO of the Research Programme Consortium (RPC) of Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) led by MSSRF, passed away in London on Monday, September 3, 2018.
An expert in the field of public health nutrition, Dr Shetty was CEO of the LANSA RPC from October 2012 to July 2018. Prior to taking charge of LANSA, he had a long and distinguished career that included serving as Professor at St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru from 1981 to 1993; Professor and Head of Public Health Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London from 1993-2001; Chief, Nutrition Planning, Assessment & Evaluation at FAO, Rome from 2001-05 and Professor of Public Health Nutrition, University of Southampton, School of Medicine from 2005-2015. He was a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FFPHM) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
Dr Shetty brought his vast experience of over three decades in the field of public health nutrition into leading the LANSA RPC and provided exemplary stewardship to LANSA both as an intellectual and administrator. An intellectual with a large heart, he was always ready to provide guidance, offer advice and extend support as required, and endeared himself to everyone. As CEO of LANSA, he came regularly to MSSRF and stayed at our guest house. The reaction of shock and sadness expressed by everyone who knew him on hearing the news of his demise, from the housekeeping staff and the guest house caretaker to particularly the LANSA team at MSSRF, each of whom has gained something from their interaction with him, speaks volumes of the fine human being that he was.
As Programme Manager of the LANSA RPC, I had the opportunity and good fortune of working closely with him. These last six years have been a very enriching phase of my professional life, thanks largely to Dr Shetty’s guidance and mentorship. He was an ideal boss, guide and a friend one could always depend on. He was also a fighter till the end. He was undergoing treatment for cancer, but continued to provide support to LANSA as long as he could contribute meaningfully. Being from South Asia with a deep understanding of the problems here and having had a distinguished career abroad, he was, I feel, in a unique position to steer this South Asia focused research programme with both international and regional partners.
His passing away is a great loss for me personally, and to MSSRF and LANSA. The entire LANSA Consortium is grateful and indebted to him for his “fantastic leadership” as recorded in the minutes of the consortium management team meeting we had last month, soon after he stepped down as CEO.
Shetty Sir, thank you for being the person you were; we will miss you.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.