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Meet the Expert

Venue: Masonic Medical Center for Children
Date: 10th April 2024

Meet the Expert
Dr.Bhoomikumar Jegannathan,
Director and Consultant Child Psychiatrist
Caritas-CCAMH, Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital, Cambodia


Most health problems among adolescents are due to risky behaviors rather than biological dysfunction ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). In fact, almost 75% of the primary causes of death in the adolescent population are preventable (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).

Addressing adolescents’ risky behaviors in health care visits is therefore essential to reduce their morbidity and mortality. Current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and National Prevention Council (NPC) guidelines recommend routine risk behavior screening for all adolescents and the use of brief intervention techniques, as indicated by the professional guidance of paediatricians and psychiatrists

Risk includes improved community literacy, public health advancing partnerships & adolescent screening programmes developed to identify the risk behaviours contributing most to adolescent morbidity, mortality, and social problems and to provide a more streamlined assessment to help providers address key adolescent risk behaviours in a time-efficient and user-friendly format. Children live in a socio-ecological intersection, where along with the child’s family, the school and the child’s environment play a great role is shaping the adolescent as what they will be tomorrow. An understanding of this multidimensional approach is therefore useful for health care providers to serve adolescent boys and girls. It also becomes critical that health care providers step up to convene different societal institutions to ensure the best interests of children.

This ‘Meet the Expert’ session is jointly organized by Masonic Medical Center for Children, International Center for Child and Public Health (ICPH) and the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Coimbatore Chapter. We are delighted that Dr.Bhoomikumar Jagannathan will help us to understand better Mental health needs and challenges in adolescence.

Profile of the Speaker:
Dr. Bhoomikumar is the Director of The Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CCAMH) in Cambodia and a consultant child psychiatrist and paediatrician. He joined the Center in October 1996, and over the past 25 years has helped build the infrastructure to service the needs of children with neuro developmental disabilities and psychological needs in Cambodia. Dr. Bhoomikumar has developed the Caritas-CCAMH into a premier institution that provides quality medical care through a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Cambodia and Caritas Cambodia, which has been supported by organisations like the India Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Trust Fund and recognised by The Association of Asian Congress of Psychiatry with the ‘Center of Excellence Award’ for the quality and importance of their service. Dr. Bhoomikumar himself has been the recipient of several awards from the Royal Government of Cambodia for his work and service.

Dr. Bhoomikumar earned an MBBS degree from Stanley Medical College, Madras University, after which he was influenced by the writings of Carl Jung to take up psychiatry, and eventually shifted to social paediatrics while working with NGOs implementing community health in India. The writings of Prof. David Morley took him to public health, and working with school teachers on mental health issues developed his interest in child psychiatry. Dr. Bhoomi earned Post Graduate Diplomas in Child Health, Psychological Medicine and Public Health from Madras University between 1983 and 1989 as his interests continued to grow. Inspired by the lives of Albert Sweitzer, the Swiss physician who spent his life time in Africa providing health care, and Dr. Kotnis, the surgeon from India who served in China, Dr. Bhoomikumar resolved not to practice medicine for private gains, not to work for governments nor apply for a job. This resolve took him to many countries and resulted in lifelong learning, as after completing another diploma program in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Maudsley Hospital in London in 1994 as the ‘Fellow of the Common Wealth Countries’, he went on to complete a Master’s in Public Health in 2008 and a PhD in Psychiatry from Umea University in Sweden in 2014.

Dr. Bhoomikumar is an avid researcher, with publications in global journals that focus on the primary and secondary prevention of mental health problems among children and young people, particularly suicidal behaviour among vulnerable and marginalized children and young people. He also holds decades of teaching experience, both as a physician and a child psychiatrist, and has taught paediatricians, physicians, nurses, psychologists and teachers on a slew of topics that range from Child and Adolescent Mental Health to community-based rehabilitation. He also taught and audited classes in the School of Public Health in San Diego State University and the County Health Department in San Diego in 1995. Since 2014, Dr. Bhoomikumar has been a visiting guest lecturer at the School of Public Health in Umea University, Sweden, where he teaches on the topic of Global Mental Health.

India Cares Oration Scroll of Honour
2021: Dr. Bhoomikumar Jagannathan delivered the oration on the title ‘Prioritizing Children’s Mental Health in the Backdrop of COVID-19: The lessons I draw from my leadership experience, expertise in psychiatry and interactions with children’
2018: Dr.M.Ramaswamy, Senior Paediatrician delivered the oration on the title ‘Who cares for India’s children? An opportunity for the health care community to reflect and curate a better tomorrow for our children’
2014: Bharat Ratna Professor M.S. Swaminathan delivered the inaugural oration on the title ‘Hunger free India as a legacy to India’s children’.


Time Events
08.15am Opening Prayer
08.20am Welcome Dr.Krishnaswamy, Chief Peadiatrician, Masonic Medical Center for Children
08.25am Opening Remarks: Dr.M.Ramaswamy, Honorary Medical Director, Masonic Medical Center for Children
08.30am Introduction of the speaker: Dr.Subhadra Iyengar, Coordinator, Public Health Desk, ICPH
08.35am Mental health needs and challenges in adolescence
Dr.Bhoomikumar Jagannathan,
Director and Consultant Child Psychiatrist Caritas-CCAMH,
Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital, Cambodia
09.00am Q& A led by Dr.Lakshmi Shanthi, President, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP)
09.10am Case Study presentation
09.15am Wrap-up & Concluding remarks
Dr.Jayashree Ashwath, Secretary, Adolescent Health Academy (AHA)
Dr.Kezevino Aram, President, Shanti Ashram