International Excellence in Endocrinology Award
Ambrish Mithal, MD, DM
Ambrish Mithal, MD, DM, is an Indian endocrinologist, who serves as the head of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Division of Medanta, the Medicity, in Delhi. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Mithal has made pioneering contributions to the growth of endocrinology, establishing and running endocrine teaching programs, developing models for high quality endocrine services, and conducting and guiding research on topics of direct relevance to India.
He carried out seminal research on fluoride toxicity, a condition affecting over 60 million people, and investigated iodine deficiency with studies that led to the universal salt iodation program. He founded India’s first bone density measurement and osteoporosis service and established osteoporosis as a serious national health problem. He described primary hyperparathyroidism as a symptomatic disease, identified hypovitaminosis D as a major public health problem affecting more than 80% of urban Indians, and played a key advisory role in initiating fortification of edible oil and milk with vitamin D.
“Clinicians often do not have the luxury of time or funding to delve into basic research. For those clinicians in the early stage of their careers, pursuing the clinician-researcher track can be very rewarding. I feel that the key to success is in aligning one’s research to community and societal needs. To contribute, even in a small way, in tackling a public health problem that affects millions of people is immensely gratifying.”
Dr. Mithal’s capacity-building initiatives in India are tremendous. They were implemented despite numerous major challenges in a very populous country with limited resources and wide knowledge gaps. In an understated and global approach, Dr. Mithal engages all concerned stakeholders, academics, physicians in practice, public health officials, trainees, patients, and the public. His achievements are coupled with a rich mentoring career of more than 40 diabetes endocrine fellows, who went on to help establish endocrinology as a specialty of academic excellence throughout India.
His efforts are recognized by numerous prestigious national and international awards, which include the highest civilian honors – the Padma Bhushan and the BC Roy Award, from the President of India, and the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s President’s Award. Dr. Mithal’s determination and enthusiasm to improve the practice of endocrinology — both at the clinical and public health level — are commendable. He is most deserving of the International Excellence in Endocrinology Award.