After graduating from the University of Madras in Economics, Political Science and English Literature, Mr. William Gershon underwent training for a year in the area of leprosy treatment which included health education and rehabilitation. He conducted a survey on the rehabilitation potential of leprosy patients in 21 large scale industries in India. He widened his experience by working as a paramedical officer for the Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation for three years.
In 1965, he joined the German Leprosy Relief Association in Wurzburg, where he learnt to organize relief efforts. In December 1966, Mr. Gershon returned to India and served as regional secretary for GLRA in India which is headquartered in Madras (Chennai). In 1971, he set up GREMALTES. In 1973, he started to function as the regional secretary for GLRA and Leprosy Relief Work Emmaus, Switzerland.
Mr. Gershon was the director of Gremaltes from 1971-77 and for a brief period in 1993-94. He was also the honorary director/secretary for many other projects in different parts of the country and served the cause of leprosy in different capacities.
Mr. Gershon returned to the GLRA head quarters in Germany in 1984 as an advisor. In December 1997, he retired and returned to India. His demise on 20 May, 1998 deprived the world of one the most effective crusaders for the cause of leprosy. His memory will always be treasured by those who knew him personally and by those who benefitted by his work.
GREMALTES (Greater Madras Leprosy Treatment and Health Education Scheme) was set up in April 1971 in partnership with the Government with the objective of creating leprosy awareness in the community.
Setting up the hospital.Once the need for in-patient services for leprosy patients was identified, the focus was on building a hospital to cater to all the needs of patients.
Growth and Diversification.Due to the efficiency of the hospital and the direction provided by the founders of Gremaltes was in a position to offer other medical services to general public.