History of the Davis Family Trust
The Davis Institute of Neuropsychiatry was founded by Dr Robert Brocklesby Davis and Mrs. Aleyamma Davis in 1955. Dr Robert Brocklesby Davis was born on 27 of December 1911 in Amritsar, Punjab. His father, Dr George Brocklesby Davis, was an English missionary doctor who had come to India and was stationed as the chief surgeon in a mission hospital in Amritsar. He came from a long line of doctors, academics, and missionaries in England. His mother Lucy Howard, also had come as a missionary to teach children in Amritsar, where she had met and married him . The couple had 8 children,and Robert was the eldest. He grew up in Amritsar until the age of eight. In 1919, one week before the Jallianwala Baag massacre, his father's Sikh patients advised him to leave India, as his family would be in danger. The family hurriedly relocated to Ely, a small village near Cambridge, where Dr George Davis became a country GP. Robert Davis was educated in England, and qualified as a doctor from the London Hospital in 1936. Due to Dr Robert Davis’s connection with India, he joined the Indian Medical Service in 1937. He was posted to Rawalpindi. As he had a keen interest in Psychiatry, he was appointed as Psychiatric Specialist to the Northern Command from 1938-1942. During World War II he joined the British Army and became the Medical Officer in a parachute brigade. He led an evacuation of many walking wounded soldiers through the jungles in Nagaland, while under Japanese fire, and was awarded the D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order) for his bravery by Queen Elizabeth II.
After the war, in 1946, Dr Robert Davis became the Medical Superintendent of the European Mental Hospital in Ranchi (now known as the Central Institute of Psychiatry). He was responsible for making this hospital into the leading center for Psychiatry in India at that time. He introduced the first EEG in India and did the first neurosurgery in Ranchi, along with army surgeons from the Namkom Military Hospital. He also started doing the first modified ECT and Insulin Coma treatment in India. He conducted trials of new drugs as soon as they were available. Dr Davis started a pathology and radiology department. He modernized the hospital, and ran it as a therapeutic community. Patients and staff had socials, picnics,played games and had outings together. . He loved teaching and taught post-graduate psychiatry students. Many of the leading psychiatrists in India were trained under him. During this period, he obtained his DPM from London whilst taking regular sabbatical visits and working in the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Neurology.
Along with other senior psychiatrists in India he was instrumental in founding the Indian Psychiatric Society in 1947. He was the founder secretary and remained secretary until 1954, when he became IPS President. He regularly attended all its national conferences. Dr Davis was a member of the UPSC for many years and served on the committee for drafting the Mental Health Act. His research interests were the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, catatonia, and cannabis psychosis.
After resigning from the European Mental Hospital in 1955, he married Aleyamma Eapen, an Indian nurse, who was the Matron of the European Hospital. She was the first Indian nurse to be sent by the government to the Maudsley Hospital, London, for training in psychiatric nursing. Together, they started the Kishore Nursing Home (now known as the Davis Institute of Neuropsychiatry) in 1955. Dr and Mrs. Davis succeeded in making their hospital one of the most well-known private psychiatric hospitals in the country. As of today, over 70,000 inpatients have been treated here.
Dr Robert Davis became an Indian citizen in 1948 and was a great admirer of Gandhi. He died on 8 October 1980 at the age of 69.
What we are today
After Dr Robert Davis died, Mrs. Aleyamma Davis was the sole owner of the Davis Institute of Neuropsychiatry. She wanted to ensure that the hospital continued to serve the people of India after she died and accordingly she started a Trust which was known as the Davis Family Trust. This Trust was responsible for the management of the hospital from the 1st of August 2004 wth Mrs. Aleyamma Davis as the first Managing Trustee. The other trustees were Dr Milind Borde, Mrs. Hazel Davis and Mr. Cherian Abraham. After Mrs. Aleyamma Davis died on 26 September 2004, Dr Milind Borde became the Managing Trustee, a post which he still holds.
The priority of the Trust was to plan to completely rebuild the infrastructure, since the existing buildings were outdated . The main problem was a lack of funds, since most of the patients came from Jharkhand and Bihar which are the poorest states in the country. We realised that it would take 10 to 15 years to completely revamp the infrastructure and we planned accordingly. We had to start small and be patient.
The first new complex we constructed was a new Toilet Block for outpatients and their relatives which was much needed. After that we constructed of the new Men's Ward. This construction was done over a period of years and the new Men's Ward was commissioned in 2008. The next priority was the construction of a Family Ward, where patients could stay along with their families. We constructed eleven rooms with attached bathrooms for the family ward. We found we needed a hall to hold patient education programs, medical meetings, and other functions. This new hall was constructed and named the Mrs. A.B. Davis Memorial Hall.
We then went on to pave all the roads in our campus with interlocking bricks and landscape the gardens. After this we demolished the old Women's Ward and built a new Women's Ward. We then remodeled our office and pharmacy and built a storage area on top of the office where old patient records could be kept. Our current project is to build a new hospital kitchen for inpatients and a new canteen for outpatients and their relatives. This build has been started and will be completed in 2018. Our goal is to continue to improve our facilities and services. It remains a long and difficult process and has involved a lot of hard work and sacrifice. However,for us, this is a continuing journey to provide the best possible facilities for both patients and their families. It is your support which has made all this possible and we will continue to work with you in the future,retaining the same level of excellence.