The Asok K. Ray, MD, FRCS (Edin) and Purnima Ray Professorship in Pediatrics has been established to focus on research and care management of genetically determined diseases. Of particular interest will be the development of programs related to the genetics of congenital bone disease. The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) benefits from regional and statewide partnerships. This Professorship will enable the holder to further expand services and research across the state of Illinois, accelerating the Department’s momentum in gaining research funding and speeding the development of child health research. The inaugural Asok K. Ray, MD, FRCS (Edin) and Purnima Ray Professor in Pediatrics will be announced next year.
Dr. Ray’s life story and legacy of compassionate service, practical skill, and determination in overcoming tremendous difficulties provided the inspiration and impetus for the creation of the Asok K. Ray, MD, FRCS (Edin) and Purnima Ray Professorship in Pediatrics. He was born in Calcutta, India and earned his medical degree from the University of Calcutta. After surgical training in India, he trained with distinguished orthopedic and general surgeons in the United Kingdom. In addition to earning a diploma in anesthesia from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, other post-graduate achievements included fellowships in Scotland and the United States and a tenure as chief resident of Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. At MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois, Dr. Ray established a private practice and organized the hospital’s orthopedic department, serving as its first chair for 15 years. Dr. Ray came to the University of Illinois at Chicago to attend orthopedic rounds, and speaks highly of the warm welcome he received from UIC residents and faculty, and the camaraderie that he went on to share as a member of the staff. His commitment to the University was exemplified by the establishment of the Asok K. Ray, MD, FRCS Lectureship in Orthopedics, as well as lifetime membership, along with his wife Mrs. Purnima Ray, in the College of Medicine William W. Root Society. Dr. Ray has been a clinical professor of Orthopedics at the College of Medicine since 1974, and also has been affiliated with several other medical centers. In addition his scholarly work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Inspired by Mother Teresa, Dr. Ray expanded his service beyond medical care and began donating to her causes. This led him to establish the Indima Foundation in memory of his parents Indira and Manik Lal Ray. The foundation’s philanthropic investments throughout India have included medical facility-construction, and support for underprivileged students and disadvantaged youth. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the foundation broadened its scope to reach individuals in need across the globe.
Dr. Ray’s life work exemplifies finding functional solutions to the substantial and enduring problems of human health. Dr. Ray sees health equity as an important “lever” to help create a healthier and more just society. The Department of Pediatrics is equally dedicated to improving health equity for all of our patients and building a future where every child and family can achieve their full potential. The support of Dr. Ray and his daughter Mallika Ray for cutting-edge research will improve the lives of patients with the greatest medical, social, and financial needs. By creating and maintaining programming and facilities, this gift will strengthen efforts to develop the next generation of child-health scholars and enable faculty and students to innovate in the lab, classroom, and beyond.