Dr. Ashok Choudhury: Ushering in a New Era of Transplant Hepatology

Dr. Ashok Choudhury,    Transplant Hepatologist

Dr. Ashok Choudhury

Transplant Hepatologist

All facets of liver illnesses, whether they are fatty liver, viral hepatitis, or alcohol-related liver diseases, have long been considered public health concerns in India. However, only a very few commendable specialists have striven to unearth the root cause and revolutionize the realm of liver treatment and transplantation in the country. One such illustrious journey is that of Dr. Ashok Choudhury, a multi-award-winning luminary in the transplant hepatology sector. While pursuing an MBBS and MD, he realized that the treatment available to patients with liver diseases was either expensive or devoid of therapeutic possibilities, which further propelled him to positively affect the wellness of people through hepatology. Driven by deep-rooted commitment, sincerity, gratitude, and ethical conduct, he quickly gained recognition as a transplant hepatologist, researcher, academician, outstanding clinician, and social activist, contributing to patient care, advanced research, and social transformation.

A Man of Many Hats
Right from gold medals and the title of ‘best graduate’ of the respective batch of MBBS at SCB Medical College, Cuttack, Odisha, to receiving international training in London and the USA, to earning international acclaim from global liver societies, Dr. Ashok has emerged as an expert who continuously emphasizes offering affordable liver treatments, primarily for the public sector. As a transplant specialist, his forte lies in managing pre-transplant evaluation, monitoring preoperative care, and offering beneficial medications and long-term follow-ups. Working closely with the transplant coordinator and the surgeon, he also executes hepatological interventions in many forms, covering trans-jugular liver biopsies and advanced endoscopic procedures, as well as critical care and emergency services. "I may be the only person from India to be awarded with Young Investigator by European, American, and Asian societies as well as the International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS) in a continuity for his pioneering research in the field of Hepatology and Liver Transplant”, shares Dr. Ashok.

The impact of Dr. Ashok on the field of hepatology and transplants is also underscored by his basic and translational research works on Liver Transplant, acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), Artificial
Intelligence, Infection, and Liver Cancer. He has brought multiple revolutionary ideas to the fore, which is evident in his introduction of the Golden Window concept from inflammation to infection in ACLF and the liver failure Score. He also played an imperative role in fighting COVID as a technical mentor for the Sudhi Box, a UV-irradiated box. His continued passion led to his work on futuristic therapies, majorly in stem cell treatment and stool transplant (fecal microbiota transplant) for self-healing of the damaged liver without a liver transplant in a few cases with no donors or transplant prerequisites.

As his passion for collaborative research, Dr. Ashok has also pioneered in the international forums. He has coordinated the largest Asian Clinical databases on liver failure i.e. the Asia Pacific Association for Study of Liver (APASL) ACLF Research Consortium (AARC). Currently, he is the global principal investigator to the Chronic Liver Disease Evolution and Registry for Events and Decompensation (CLEARED) consortium across 28 countries across 6 continents. He has also been a key member of the APASL Hepatology and Oncology (AHOC) Consortium and was recently elected to the Governing Council of the Indian National Association for Study of Liver (INASL) - the apex liver society of India.

Dr. Ashok is actively involved in development of next-gen hepatology doctors, who can alter the domain nationally & globally

Dr. Ashok is actively involved in the development of nextgen hepatology doctors, who can alter the domain nationally and globally. Furthermore, he is a course coordinator for Asia for APASL Liver Cancer Preceptorship Program(ALCAP), for knowledge dissemination to doctors globally to care for and cure deadly liver cancer. Nationally he started one academic interaction with primary care physicians through the forum GLAD (Gastroenterology and Liver Academic Discussion) and globally through Liver Club International. He is serving currently as an additional professor in hepatology and liver transplantation at the prestigious Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), New Delhi. He is a mentor to many DM, PhD students, and national and international student visitors. He also held the coveted positions of university examiner, academic editor, editorial board member, and peer reviewer to many national and international medical journals. He was also featured in WebMD magazine in Europe and recently delivered a lecture at MIT Cambridge, Boston US too.

Dr. Ashok - As A Philanthropist
Dr. Ashok believes that heightened public awareness is the key to the prevention of the rapidly growing cases of fatty livers, alcoholic liver diseases, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and hepatitis ‘B’ and ‘C’. To create a holistic approach, he has initiated a virtual as well as offline ‘Know Hepatitis No Hepatitis’ campaign, which reached over 20,000 school children, and the ‘Living Initiative with Fresh Energy (LiFe)’ campaign to promote healthy lifestyle and holistic health among adults. His untiring efforts to promote organ donation with the engagement of educational institutions, NGOs, and policy makers as well as through walkathons, street plays, or story books are gaining momentum. “In Odisha, I have joined with nearly 70 passionate doctors, to leverage affordable healthcare in a charitable mode, while in Delhi, I am also well known as a man-at-need for many civil society organizations, orphanages, and old-age homes”, mentions Dr. Ashok. He envisions continuing his relentless pursuit of excellence, the advancement of the liver care landscape, and creating awareness for curbing diseases. “We can achieve a Healthy India through a Healthy Liver by adopting a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining an ideal weight, minimal alcohol intake, avoiding self-medication or use of over-the counter (OTC) medicines, and ensuring hepatitis testing as well as vaccination. The only thing we need is to think of your life and give extra care for your liver”, concludes Dr. Ashok.