An Indian American professor has been named a member of Virginia's mental health board.
Ananda Pandurangi, a professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), was last week appointed by Governor Tim Kaine as a member of the State Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services Board.
Pandurangi, born in Karnataka, came to the US in 1979. He obtained his medical degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry (now Puducherry).
A board certified psychiatrist, Pandurangi currently holds the position of chairman of inpatient psychiatry, and director of the Schizophrenia Programme at VCU.
He has received the National Merit Scholarship in India, the Young Investigator Award in Schizophrenia Research (US) and the Distinguished Academician Award from Indo-American Psychiatrists Association.
"This is a critical time for mental health in Virginia. The Virginia Tech tragedy in April has raised many questions. The Justice Haskell Commission has released its report for reform of mental health laws. The role of the MH/MR board will be very meaningful," Pandurangi told News India-Times, an ethnic Indian newspaper.
Virginia Tech witnessed a shooting massacre April 16 when South Korean student Seung Hui Cho killed 32 people and later shot himself.