Shreveport neonatologist to be awarded 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Apr 23, 2014

LSU Health Shreveport pediatrics professor Dr. Arun Pramanik is among more than 100 people who will be honored in May with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

LSU Health Shreveport pediatrics professor Dr. Arun Pramanik will accept the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in the presence of his children on May 10.
Credit Kate Archer Kent

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations presents the annual award to U.S. immigrants or native-born citizens who have made significant contributions to society.

Pramanik grew up in rural India, and he’s never forgotten where he came from. He works with a number of global health agencies to reduce the number of stillborn births in the developing world.

“I grew up with no running water or electricity. When you go back to these rural areas these folks are happy, despite very limited facilities. You see the kids running around. You see mothers who aren’t complaining despite the fact that their babies may have died, which could have been prevented,” Pramanik said.

Pramanik is on the forefront of the Helping Babies Breathe Initiative as part of the American Academy of Pediatrics. His work involves the use of global satellites to detect potentially complicated births early on in order to reduce mortality of mothers and babies in developing nations.

“Lay people can take pictures. They’re taught how to do ultrasounds,” Pramanik said. “If they have any problem they refer it to level 2 centers that can immediately send those pictures by satellites. The obstetrician then decides whether they come to them or go to the next center for delivery by cesarean section or experienced OBs.”

The neonatologist has taught at LSU School of Medicine for more than 30 years. He’ll join the ranks of other Ellis Island Award recipients, including six former U.S. presidents. Each year’s recipients are read into the Congressional Record. Pramanik’s colleague at LSU Health Shreveport, Dr. Quyen Chu, also will receive the award that will be presented May 10 on the historic New York island.