Gauthamadas Udipi

Gauthamadas Udipi is a professor and 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Contribution to disaster mental health

Dr. Gauthamadas has been acknowledged as an expert in disaster psychosocial response.[1] His work has left a mark on the psychosocial involvement of women survivors in disaster mitigation. [2] He is credited with coining the term Community Counselor to refer to survivors from disaster affected communities who are utilized to provide counseling to traumatized fellow survivors. [3][4] In the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami Dr. Gautham decided to lend his expertise to alleviating trauma of the disaster stricken.[5][6][7] Taking charge as director of the disaster management psycho-social intervention program of the National Lutheran Health and Medical Board, he propounded a post-disaster "Social Transformation" framework[8][9] and implemented it successfully[5] to provide long-term disaster health care and psychosocial intervention projects in 51 tsunami-affected villages in the Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu,[10] 156 quake affected villages in Kashmir,[11][12][13] and flood affected villages in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.[14] Dr. Gautham was instrumental in creating a 1000 member strong Disaster Preparedness Youth Task Force in 50 Tsunami affected villages in Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu.[6] His views on designing the health care disaster relief team feature in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mission 2009 document.[15]

One of his unique programs was to link communities affected by disasters so that disaster relief and preparedness knowledge may be shared.[16][17]

His team has the distinction of being the only group offering medical relief to quake survivors during the deep winter in Indian Kashmir.[18][19][20]

Dr. Gautham organised five international workshops, the reports of which have been widely circulated and are said to have been instrumental in shaping the National Disaster Management Guidelines – Psychosocial Support and Mental Health Services and incorporated his suggestions into the final document.

Status papers on "Social Transformation of Communities Affected by Natural Disasters" and "Psychosocial intervention in complex disasters" by Dr. Gautham, helped to implement recovery in the tsunami-affected communities.[24][25][26][27][28] The training module for creating "community support leaders" developed by Gautham helped transform educated unemployed women in disaster-affected regions into community leaders who were respected and looked up to.[29][30]

His model for crisis intervention in large-scale disasters using "lay community counsellors"[31] was used to set up the Community Counselor project in which 2500 villagers of 51 tsunami-affected villages in Cuddalore district were trained as lay community counsellors and provided succor to nearly 100,000 villagers affected by the trauma of the tsunami.[32][33]

Dr. Gautham's Handbook for Community Counselor Trainers

A bilingual (English and Tamil) "Safety and Preparedness Coloring and Activity Book" for children to prepare them to face day-to-day crises and future disasters designed by Dr. Gautham has been appreciated by the Education Department of the government of Tamil Nadu.

Other significant contributions

Dr. Gautham has also written a book on Applied Psychology for Police Officers, published by Tamil Nadu Police Training Academy, Applied Child Development for Pre Primary Teachers as part of distance education course material for pre-primary teachers, published by Annamalai University, and Disaster Management published by the Christian Institute of Management. He has served on the course material team of the Open University Business School, British Open University (2000 to 2004).

Accredited as an associate faculty by the Open University Business School, UK he taught on their Executive MBA program in India from 1997 to 2003. During this tenure he had the distinction of being the only faculty from India to serve as a discussion leader in the worldwide (8000+ strong) online student discussion forum for four years running.

Dr. Gautham helped to set up the post-graduate diploma in pre-primary education through distance education in 1990 and authored the course materials in applied child development for teachers.

In 1996, the Child-to-Child Trust, London, invited Dr. Gautham to set up the Child-to-Child South India Resource Group and serve as its honorary director, a post that he held till 1999 when the assignment of the group was completed. The group, composed of experts in the field, monitored, guided, and provided training for projects funded by the trust in South India.

Dr. Gautham was instrumental in getting the University of Madras to introduce concessions for students with learning disabilities in 2004.

The course designed and taught by him at California Lutheran University was a trendsetter.[43]

Academic positions

Dr. Gautham is professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry at MAP Institute of Medical Sciences and Research. A World Health Organization. The WHO invited him to serve as the sole resource person from India for the WHO Early Childhood Care and Development program in developing countries from 1993 to 1996.

He has been an academic council member of the Annamalai University (1993 to 1995) and the autonomous MOP Vaishnav College for Women (2001 to 2005). He has been a member of the Board of studies in Psychology (1993 to 1996) and a planning committee member of the Department of Distance Education at Annamalai University (1992 to 1996). He has served on the doctoral board of the Martin Luther Christian University (2006 to 2009). The California Lutheran University invited Dr. Gautham as a visiting scholar (professor) in 2007 and 2008.[44][45][46][47]


Dr. Gautham graduated in medicine from the

Popular media appearances

His popular appearances on a popular local-language TV channel to deliver informative tips about mental illness and mental health ran for nearly four years with more than 180 appearances.

Dr. Gautham has appeared on Indian television alongside prominent personalities. He has done live phone-in Q & A programs on local TV channels. He has featured in or written articles on mental health issues for newspapers and magazines including the Times Group and The Hindu.[49][50][51][52][53][54] [55]