To Mangaloreans, she is a well-known name and personality. Charming, helpful and very capable in her chosen profession, Dr. Mithra Hegde is a highly successful dentist in Mangalore. Already famous as a busy practicing dentist in Mangalore, she recently hit the news headlines when she was chosen to be the personal dentist for the President of India.
Born to Sri. Venu Gopal R. Shetty (Shiror Bailumane and Kidiyoor family) and Smt. Prema V. Shetty (Bannampali and Thingale family), Dr. Mithra is married to Dr. Nidarsh D Hegde (Professor in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Implantology) who is presently holding the post of the commandant of DK District Home Guards. She has two lovely children - Nishmitha studying in the 9th std and Nishanth studying in the 2nd std.
Dr. Mithra had her early education at the St. Agnes Convent School, Mangalore and did her pre-university at the St. Agnes College Mangalore. Always wanting to be a doctor but unwilling to move away from home she opted to do both her Bachelors and Masters in Dentistry at the A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences.
Though Dr. Mithraís passion in life revolves around the teaching and learning of Dentistry, she takes time for her favourite hobby gardening. She says one of the most memorable incidents in her life was receiving that all important call from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Dr Hegde with the President
Dr Hegde receiving Rajyotsava award from Chief Minister of Karnataka
Honor from Women's Dental Council
Here, Dr. Mithra shares a few of her thoughts with Team Mangalorean.
What inspired you to take up dentistry as your profession?
Dentistry was a conscious choice. I always wanted to become a doctor from childhood, but did not want to leave home and hence joined dentistry in my hometown.
This field of conservative dentistry in which you have specialized, can you tell us some more about it?
Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics is a field of Dentistry which preserves and restores the natural tooth in its form and function; it also includes aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry which can change the appearance and personality of a person. This specialty of dentistry is the origin of clinical practice in dentistry, it covers most of the areas in private practice.
When did you start your private practice? Your husband Dr. Nidarsh D Hegde is the commandant of DK District Home Guards. How do you motivate him in his work?
I started my private practice in 1991. Dr. Nidarsh, Commandant of home guards has always enjoyed doing community service, and so he takes immense pleasure from his profession. I believe that one should enjoy the work one does, no matter what work it is. Since we are both dentists we understand each otherís professional responsibilities and support each other to undertake any additional responsibility with pleasure.
Working for an institution and managing your clinic apart from your home must be a challenging task. What is the secret behind your success in achieving all this while being a cool and calm person yourself?
Thank you for considering me as a cool and calm person. I believe that if you like your work, it is work no longer, but sheer enjoyment.
Your achievement on being selected as the Presidentís Dentist is commendable. How do you dedicate your time for this? What was your first reaction when you got the esteemed post? Tell us in brief about your experiences with Indiaís first Citizen.
I am indeed honoured by the post. I was working at the clinic when I received the appointment. Her Excellency Smt. Prathibha Devi Singh Patel is the First President of India I have met. We are all proud that she is the first woman to hold the esteemed post of the President of India.
The A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences is dedicated to serve the rural population with dental awareness through camps and free dental treatment for the poor. What are the main challenges in educating the rural and poor masses? How well have you achieved the target over the years?
The A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences is the pioneer institute to provide dental health care to the rural, semi urban and needy urban population since 1985 all free of cost. I am proud to be associated with this process since the last 25 years. Dental awareness and education has definitely improved in the South Kanara population. The need to maintain oral health and natural teeth, related to general health and well being has definitely been effectively emphasized.
What are the challenges that you have faced during your service, as a Professor and Department Head?
In my service as a Professor and Head of the Department, challenges are quite common, especially when you are at the same institution for 25 years; 7 years as a student and 18 years as teacher. I believe that overcoming these challenges is a part of successful living.
Tell us more about your family, and your interaction with them.
My parents K. Venugopal R. Shetty and Prema V. Shetty stay very close to my home and they still take care of me like they used to do 25 years ago. My daughter Nishmitha is an all rounder; good in studies, sports, cultural and home management. My son Nishanth yet playful is the busiest person at home. We have our pets Dolly and Tasha, our German shepherds and their puppies and life at home is never uneventful.
Do you have any message to give to Mangaloreans in general and the younger generation in particular?
I am indeed proud to be a Mangalorean and I thank the Mangaloreans for the support and encouragement given to me throughout my career. My special message to the younger generation is this - when you donít wish, you donít dream, when you donít dream, you donít act, when you donít act, you never make a difference in this world, so this year, go, make a wish and make the world a better place.
www.mangalorean.com takes pride in wishing Dr. Mithra Hegde continued success and achievement in her profession.
Submitted by Violet Pereira