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Sunday, June 28, 2015

NICU in New York named after Sri Lankan physician

NEW YORK – At an official ceremony last week, Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) dedicated the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in honour of the late Dr. Anantham Harin, a Sri Lankan physician, who directed the unit at the time of his death in 2010 at age 65.
Dr. Anantham Harin
“This is a simple honour for a man who earned the recognition and admiration not just of his colleagues here at Richmond University Medical Center, but served as a leader and role model in the Sri Lankan community on Staten Island,” said President and CEO, Dr. Daniel J. Messina, who delivered remarks during the dedication. “It is truly fitting that his memory be honoured in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, among the vulnerable babies he dedicated his life to.”
During his 30-year professional career at the NICU, more than 15,000 infants passed through him recording one of the lowest mortality rates in the State of New York. Described as a brilliant physician and a warm hearted humanitarian, Dr Harin was regularly featured in the New York media for his work with premature babies and was repeatedly listed among New York magazine’s list of Best Doctors.
While a resident of Staten Island, New York, Dr. Harin emerged as a leading figure in the borough’s Sri Lankan community, which at over 5,000 estimated residents is one of the largest outside of Sri Lanka itself. His career was described as an American success story.
Dr. Harin graduated from the University of Colombo Medical School in 1970 and migrated to the United States in 1973 to begin a residency at what is now SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, and an internship in pediatrics at Kings County Hospital Center.
After completing a fellowship in neonatology at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, Dr. Harin worked as an attending physician in neonatology at Bellevue Hospital Center and NYU Medical Center in Manhattan. Having relocated to Staten Island in 1979, Dr. Harin began working at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital (now RUMC) in the early 1980s where he worked until his passing.
Last week’s dedication ceremony was held at the University hospital auditorium in the presence of doctors, nurses, medical staff, his wife Nirupa and his friends in the Sri Lankan expatriate community.
The official unveiling of the plaque at the NICU preceded a memorial lecture.
This news item was sent by Indra Anandasabapathy who is also a resident of Staten Island, NY.  Dr. Harin was our colleague Satchie's brother.


  1. Amazing career and a tribute to Sri Lanka. I remember him at Royal although he was junior to me. So many Sri Lankans who emigrated to the US have done well, I mean extremely welll, say compared to those who went elsewhere. Is this just my impression or do any of you share my view? Is it the fact that opportunities for advancement are greater there.

    1. I remember Harin at Medical College and playing TT with him in the common room. He was a nice guy, polite and peaceful. Warm hearted is the right word. What wonderful achievements and well earned tributes. May he find Eternal Peace.

  2. Mahen:
    "Done well in life" means many things to many people. The grass is greener where it is watered and looked after. Many would be proud with your professional achievements. We hear of those who achieve but those who don't just disappear beyond the horizon. Even those who were at the top our batch and went to the US have had hard lives. True, some did exceptionally well. At this stage of our lives we are aware that money doesn't bring happiness. There is another unique and unquantifiable factor. As you know, I like to call it the awesome force of destiny.

  3. ND. Of course what you say is true. Perhaps I should have qualified by what I meant by "done well" )I didn't say done well in life by the way). I meant mainly Academic achievements and contributions to the community of specialists in whatever field they worked. "Done well in life" is a wholly different "ball game"!

  4. I got these comments about Harin from another blog.

    As a first-rate physician, Hari was anointed -- multiple times-- one of New York city's "best doctors": a prestigious accolade bestowed annually by New York magazine.

    In a moving tribute to Hari, Bonnie Gleicher wrote on a Staten Island newspaper blog, that 22 years ago, "Dr. Anantham Harin brought me into the world -- a three-month premature baby -- and now, he has left it. As I thank this man for the healthy, exuberant life he's helped me live, I celebrate his own. The world has few gems, and Dr. Harin was truly one of them.”.

    When his cash-strapped hospital was forced to make budgetary cuts, Hari volunteered to take a 50 percent reduction of his own salary primarily to save the jobs of two of his assistants who would otherwise have been laid off. It was a display of his innate humanitarian qualities.

    In his eulogy, Dr Simon Rabinowitz, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Hari's hospital, said: "While his friendship and his leadership will be missed, his legacy lives on in his many success stories."

    He was clearly a remarkable human being

  5. Very proud to hear about this distinguished doctor. He sounds a true professional and indeed a pride for our Medical College and someone who has contributed immensely in his field. I join our other members in sending a tribute to him.

  6. Hear, Hear, our Zita. Well said
    Despite not knowing this guy too well, I am pleased to note that there are still a few selfless people around who are NOT solely bent on financial gains alone, but still caring for fellow mates and the institutions-- they are indeed saintly.
    This strike home an incident in my own family, when one of my twin daughters who qualified as a Dentist and joined a Practice as a salaried partner. In just a few months into the 'job' she came home for a W / E and told us---- "Dad, Mum, this is all 'BLOOD MONEY' & she joined the NHS to continue her career in Max-Fax Surgery.
    Indeed in one of my past postings, I have expressed my sentiments about some "goings on" in Private Practice!!!.