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First Pakistani woman wins American Laureate Award for endocrinology

Dr. Tasneem Ahsan (Photo supplied)

Dr. Tasneem Ahsan is the first Pakistani to win the Laureate Award, among others, given by the Endocrine Society of America for her outstanding services.

She is a world-renowned clinician and educator who has helped to establish and grow the field of endocrinology in Pakistan.

Ahsan retired from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi in 2015, and the institution awarded her the title of Professor Emeritus for her outstanding performance in the fields of education, research and medicine. She is the founding dean of the Medicell Institute of Diabetes Endocrinology & Metabolism, Karachi, Pakistan.

She graduated in medicine from Dadu Medical College, Pakistan.

Then she went to Britain with her husband, Dr. Shakeel Ahmed Rizvi, where she received training in endocrinology. 

When she came to Pakistan for some work, she got a job opportunity at Civil Hospital Karachi.

On the advice of her husband, she decided to stay in Pakistan.

Endocrinology deals with hormones and chronic diseases, i.e., diseases that cannot be cured, such as diabetes.

In 1993, she established the first endocrinology practice in a public hospital in Pakistan, at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Over 100 postgraduate trainee doctors in internal medicine and endocrinology were trained by her. She was the only endocrinologist in Pakistan's public sector at the time.

Then the director allowed her to start an OPD in a small room. They had no such facilities. 

“The patients themselves were not keeping any records when I started keeping records in the clinic,” she says. 

When the OPD came into being and its benefits began to emerge, they were allowed to set up a department. She did not ask for any funds.

The efficiency of this department was tested and it was formally approved as a specialist department in 2010.
It should be remembered that Ahsan is the only woman in the Endocrinology Society in Pakistan, which she founded.

She is committed to increasing access to care and treats a sizable transgender population at the Medicell Institute.

For more than 80 years, the Endocrine Society has recognized the outstanding achievements of endocrine researchers and clinicians worldwide.

Endocrinologists are honored for seminal research, distinguished service, leadership and mentoring, innovation, international contributions, public service, science translation to practice, and lifetime achievement.

Ahsan won the International Excellence in Endocrinology Award, which is given to an endocrinologist who has made outstanding contributions to the field in geographical areas with limited resources for hormone health research, education, clinical practice, or administration.

Besides her, there are 11 other winners of the Endocrine Society’s 2023 Laureate Award. The awards will be given away next year. - Iram Imran  


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