When it comes to oral health, good preventative care is necessary. Oral health is a gateway to the overall health of a person because the mouth intakes whatever we consume whether it is good or bad. Even with the best dental habits, dental problems do happen.
Oral pathology is the science that diagnoses and treats disease in the teeth, gums, bones, jaw, and joints around the mouth. Dental problems are natural to happen to anyone, dental professionals help people to know more about the diseases and guide how to prevent them.
We have reached the digital world, where technology grew and participation in treating disease has become exceptionally smooth. Recently we conducted an interview with Dr Pradakshana Vijay, an Oral Pathologist and Senior Resident at King George’s Medical University, to know more about the dental industry and its progress.
Dr Pradakshana is an expert in oral cancer with lots of knowledge and milestones, has experience in treating dental problems of people over a decade time.
Below are the highlights of an interview:
Kindly tell our readers about yourself and your professional journey so far. What was your inspiration to step into the healthcare sector?
It was always a childhood dream to see myself in the white apron with Dr suffixed to my name. From the age of six, I aspired to become a doctor. Then seeing the doctors in the hospital in a white apron motivated me. It is not just a job, but a dream come true for me. I wanted to serve the community in the best way which was possible through this profession. It was with the support and encouragement of my parents I pursued my dream. Though I belong to non-medical family background, I always hoped to see myself in the profession.
I completed my B.D.S. (Bachelor’s in Dental Surgery) from Sri Rajiv Gandhi College of Dental Sciences, Bengaluru in 2009, and further did my specialization M.D.S. (Master’s in Dental Surgery) in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from NIMS Dental College, Jaipur in 2015. Later I joined King George’s Medical University (KGMU) as a Senior Resident in 2016 and completed my residency in 2020. I got a project approved and sanctioned by CSIR New Delhi and joined back KGMU as pool officer in 2020, and currently, I am serving the institute.
Tell us about King George’s Medical University, its mission, and its vision. What role did you play in furthering its development and outreach?
The success of this great project of medical education was assured when the foundation stone was laid by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales in 1906. The college was completed and the work of the first medical session was started in October 1911, though the ceremonial opening of the college building by His Honour Sir John Prescot Hewett did not occur until January 27, 1912.
The dental faculty of the college was born as a separate section of the Department of Surgery in 1949 with ten admissions to the B.D.S. course. It was converted into a separate department in 1950, had a new building in 1952, started post-graduate training courses in 1964, had another new building, and attained the status of a separate faculty in 1980. At present, it consists of 9 departments viz Oral Pathology, Prosthodontics, Operative Dentistry, Orthodontics. Periodontics, Pedodontics, oral medicine, community dentistry, and Oral Surgery.
The mission and vision of KGMU are to become one of the world’s best providers of high-quality teaching and excellence in medical education, patient-centred care of the highest quality, generate outstanding leaders in healthcare and promote biomedical research.
I have been involved in departmental and institutional activities like educational programs which include conferences and workshops, biomedical research activities, social outreach like dental camps.
COVID-19 proved to be the biggest disruptor since the Dot-com bubble. How has the pandemic affected the operations and growth of your university?
KGMU was the first healthcare facility in the state to admit COVID-19 patients from 2020. Since then, the journey from ‘no beds’ to a ‘few cases’ hasn’t been easy. It was the toughest phase in the medical field. COVID management taught us a lot, and new additions were done to the healthcare system. Telemedicine was introduced, which helped doctors to reach those patients and places which were difficult to approach and treat. Plasma therapy was started, which acted as a boon to save many lives.
What is your opinion on the necessity for hospitals and healthcare educators to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to catering to the ever-evolving healthcare needs?
Healthcare changes drastically due to technological developments ranging from antibiotics, anaesthetics, radiotherapies, and imaging scanners. Health technology presents numerous prospects for transforming and improving healthcare, including reduced human errors, improving clinical outcomes, improving practice efficiencies, and tracking data over time.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced operating such a highly versatile university? What are the most important lessons that you have learned in your vocation so far?
The rising student expectations, the newer technological advances, making research sustainable, balancing research with teaching, the shift to e-learning.
In your opinion, what could be the future of healthcare post the pandemic? And how are you strategizing your institution’s pedagogy and operations for that future?
Telehealth and telemedicine are the new face of the healthcare system, development of mobile applications for health update status and disease monitoring, the shift to preventive treatment protocols.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring doctors and healthcare enthusiasts who wish to venture into the healthcare space?
Managing your workload means being organized, asking for help when needed. Give yourself time to learn, manage stress, being a good listener to your patients, build connections with your colleagues, look for good opportunities and choose decisively between academics and private practice.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Also, how do you envision scaling King George’s Medical University in the coming years?
I see myself as an emerging oral pathologist, learning and gaining experience in research and academics, innovating in the field of dentistry and my specialty in particular. I hope to hold a respectable position in the institution in the near future. I expect KGMU to be among one of the best healthcare providers globally in the field of academics, research, and patient care.