|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 347-350
From the outgoing President's heart
Vinay Kumar Reddy Kundoor
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Indian Academy of Oral Medicine and Radiology
|Date of Web Publication||21-Feb-2017|
Vinay Kumar Reddy Kundoor
JIAOMR Editorial Office, C/O Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Mamata Dental College, Giriprasad Nagar, Khammam - 507 002, Telangana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Reddy Kundoor VK. From the outgoing President's heart. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2016;28:347-50
I had a tête-à-tête with the outgoing President of the Indian Academy of Oral Medicine and Radiology (IAOMR), Dr. Gopakumar R. Nair. Following are the excerpts from the chat I had with him:
Q1. How do you feel the Academy has progressed under your leadership?
A1. As the President of the Academy in 2016, I, with the support from the administrative office bearers and the members of the Academy, have tried to do the best possible for the sake of the Academy. It is for the members to judge how the Academy has progressed under my leadership … My job is to just perform to the best of my abilities and in the interest of the Academy. Personally, I feel that the Academy has made significant progress in my tenure as the President. This can be corroborated by the activities conducted in the past year.
I think 2016 was one of those years for the Academy where we had the maximum number of scientific events conducted under the aegis of IAOMR spread evenly throughout the year in all corners of the country. It was also a year where we had the maximum interaction with the Dental Council of India (DCI) on various issues concerning our Academy. All the issues related to our specialty were well addressed by the council and resolved in the interest of our fraternity. Our initiation for curriculum reforms at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels has also been appreciated and welcomed by the apex body. With regard to the functioning of the Academy, we implemented the amendments to the constitution which were also registered with the Registrar of Societies, Karnataka.
Q2. What new changes have you sought to bring in the academy?
A2. The entire year we were quite busy with a lot of events conducted under the aegis of IAOMR. One of these events which was unique to the year 2016 was the Teachers Training Programs conducted in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Goa over a period of time. These events were well attended and received a positive response from the fraternity. Also on the occasion of “World Radiology Day” and “No Tobacco Day,” we released a poster under the aegis of IAOMR, which was prominently displayed in all dental colleges all over India. In addition to this, seminars, quiz, essay, and poster competitions were conducted for the students on these occasions.
Normally, each year various events are conducted in all parts of the country. However, events have never been conducted under the aegis of IAOMR in the eastern part of India. For the first time in the history of IAOMR, we conducted a one day CDE program on “CBCT: An innovative aid in maxillofacial diagnostics” in association with Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Hazaribag College of Dental Sciences at Hazaribag in the state of Jharkhand. As the Academy progresses, I foresee a near future where we all shall meet in one of the eastern-most states of India for scientific deliberations.
This year we implemented the amendments to the constitution. The number of posts for election to the administrative office bearers was also increased. Also, in 2016, we could bring in a subsidized subscription rate of Rs. 2000 only per year, with a discount of up to 75% on the actual subscription rate, exclusively for members of the Academy, wherein the members can receive hard copies of the journal at their correspondence address. The entire year has gone by with a sense of fulfillment and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude towards the Honorary General Secretary, all the administrative office bearers of 2016 and the members of our Academy for their support, encouragement, and cooperation in making 2016 an eventful year for our Academy worth remembering.
Q3. How do you see your role as the Immediate Past President in the Executive Committee, in the year 2017?
A3. Although I might not be able to take final decisions on matters being in the post of Immediate Past President, I feel the post of Immediate Past President is a very crucial post where the past experience as the President counts and the person occupying that post serves as a bridge in continuing the good work for the progress of the Academy. Having said that, I will continue to attend all EC meetings in 2017 and pitch in my views for the betterment of the Academy. Irrespective of the post I hold in 2017, I will strive to work for the sake of the Academy and I will complete any work assigned to me with the same dedication when I was the President. I see my role as of a guide and a mentor for the newly elected members as and when required.
I believe we can still contribute a lot and work collectively to bring in lots of reforms to benefit the speciality. I realized that one year tenure is too short a term to do all that you wish for. But I shall continue to pursue with renewed zeal and enthusiasm in the post of immediate past president, and pursue and follow-up the unfinished business. One of my agenda close to my heart is establishing a corpus fund to realize the dream of having an own permanent fixed asset of IAOMR. I will work in tandem with the incoming president and his team for achieving greater standards of education, patient care, and for the professional security and prosperity of our fellow IAOMR members.
Q4. What radical changes do you feel are needed in the academy to make it a more transparent organization?
A4. Our Academy as you know is now 2000 plus members strong. We need to bring some more changes in the constitution of IAOMR which will make this a much better and transparent organization. In the latest constitutional amendments, we could achieve a part of this goal. I personally feel that the administration of this Academy can become more transparent by implementing some minor things like putting up the minutes of the meetings online periodically on the IAOMR website, bringing in some stricter rules to be followed during financial transactions involving the Academy, increasing the accountability of office bearers, putting in some mechanisms where in the decision making capability can be in the hands of the members instead of the office bearers alone, etc.
Q5. What has the Academy done for standardization of research protocols in our field at zonal levels?
A5. This part is still under review and a lot of deliberations and efforts are underway to form a standard protocol to be followed by all. It is only a matter of time that the Academy will come out with a comprehensive plan. In fact, the Academy has already come with a standard treatment protocol to be followed for certain lesions such as precancerous lesions, etc.
Q6. What changes are you looking towards in the upcoming years in relation to the BDS syllabus and its approach to the subject of Oral Medicine and Radiology?
A6. In this regard we are regularly in touch with DCI, incorporating new topics and deleting the outdated. As per the requirements we have been constantly advising DCI in this regard. My personal opinion is that the syllabus should include the latest advancements, practical onsite postings in a general hospital, mainly in Dermatology and General Medicine wards, where students can see and diagnose oral lesions and learn their correlation with skin and general medical conditions. This will help in their overall development and promote the speciality in the long run.
Q7. What are the new challenges that you feel the Academy will be facing in the near future?
A7. As our fraternity grows and gradually achieves saturation, there are challenges which will arise and which are inevitable. Freshly passed out postgraduate students might see a situation where there might be dearth of jobs, teaching and nonteaching, in the future. They might even have to face stiff competition from peers. However, the speciality as such is not getting saturated; instead it is advancing, with new developments in the field of both Oral Medicine and Oral Radiology. So the broader picture indeed is quite encouraging, wherein, I feel the budding specialist should grab every available opportunity and diversify in all aspects utilizing the advancements in our speciality, instead of looking out for jobs.
With the new tighter norms ensuring only the meritorious candidates to be eligible for admission into postgraduate courses and the already existing situation where BDS students aspiring to pursue MDS courses not choosing Oral Medicine and Radiology as their first option, I feel the managements of dental colleges, particularly the private ones, will have a tough time filling up their seats in Oral Medicine and Radiology. The solution to this again is to enlighten the BDS graduates on the broader picture I just mentioned before, so that the misconception that Oral Medicine and Radiology is a 'nonclinical' branch is removed from their minds, and they realize and learn that there are new advancements in this speciality which can take them further in their careers.
Q8. What is the major challenge to the field of dentistry in general and Oral Medicine and Radiology in particular as a profession?
A8. As already mentioned the biggest challenge is making both dentistry and our speciality lucrative financially as a career option.
Q9. What makes Oral Medicine still a lucrative branch to opt for when we have to choose a career of specialization?
A9. There have been quite a number of advancements in our speciality, both in Oral Medicine and Oral Radiology. What remains is only our potential to tap these advancements and make ourselves a lucrative career in either Oral Medicine or Oral Radiology. For example, the advent of three-dimensional (3D) imaging has brought about a revolution in our field, with a lot of practitioners going for their personal maxillofacial imaging centres, or they may seek employment in any general diagnostic or radiology centers as an oral and maxillofacial radiology consultant. Further 3D printing is creating new waves in our field which has given a brighter future to Oral Medicine and Radiology specialists. The onus now lies in our hands to incorporate these new advances and practice them effectively. Research is another great field for Oral Medicine people. They can seek employment in pharmaceutical companies which are carrying out research in medicines dealing with oral and maxillofacial lesions, including oral cancer.
Having said that we are also pursuing with the concerned authorities both at the central and state government levels to include an oral medicine specialist in every primary health center (PHC) so that precancerous lesions can be detected at an early stage, patients may be educated on the adverse effects of tobacco, and oral cancer can be prevented.
Q10. With a dearth of jobs in the dental colleges of India for postgraduates and even for senior staff in the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, how do you propose we stimulate the newly passed out graduates to join our field?
A10. This shortage of jobs is not only in our field but in all the fields such as engineering or commerce, and so on. But the charm of Oral Medicine and Radiology will never fade. I for one strongly am convinced that basically a well-trained individual in the speciality of Oral Medicine and Radiology is a better clinician in dental practice other than being an academician. This is one speciality in the real sense where one can practice dentistry with a wholesome perspective of incorporating and interacting with the nuances of clinical medicine with finesse. A properly trained and educated specialist in any field will get his due when the time comes. So I urge all our seniors and teachers to continue to stimulate the students to join our field.
Q11. What according to you is the scope of an Oral Medicine specialist outside a standard academic job and clinical practice?
A11. As I said earlier research is a promising field with abundant opportunities in foreign universities. I would advise budding specialists to pursue short courses and specialize in forensic dentistry and be ready to take up those job opportunities. They can also establish tobacco deaddiction and counselling centres as an add-on to their practice skills. Clinical trials is another promising field. They can apply for posts related to research in various multinational companies in clinical pharmacology or dental materials or maxillofacial imaging. I would advise them to think out of the box and not be stereotyped in getting into the future.
Q12. How much do you feel an Oral Medicine postgraduate will earn after completing his/her post-graduation and how?
A12. This is a very dubious question. Every human being has his or her own capability to earn or to carry out any function. I feel that how much ever an Oral Medicine specialist will earn, he will be happy only after a pain free and relieved patient shows his/her gratitude. Nothing can be more satisfying to a doctor than to see a beleaguered and disgruntled patient come to him/her and leave happy and satisfied.
Q13. As a person who has a bird's eyes view of the scenario of the profession in India, what would be your perspective on the current unemployment situation?
A13. Unemployment is a curse for all nations whether it is a developed country like the USA or a developing one like India. The solution is multifactorial. My personal input is that a committee should be made under the aegis of IAOMR where all the unemployed specialists can register, which will help in securing them jobs or guiding them.
However, the best suggestion I can give to a newcomer with a postgraduate specialization in Oral Medicine and Radiology is to rely on oneself. Establish a good practice and find a good lean by yourself. Academic jobs if they come by please go ahead, but do not depend only on them. Establishing group practice by entering into partnership with your peers, a start up venture like a CBCT or total head and neck imaging centre are other options. Youngsters can also apply for jobs at cancer centres, with over 4000 of them in India. They can also interact and give awareness lectures of our specialty and abilities in forums of general medical practitioners, dermatologists, radiologists, ENT surgeons, and oncologists, thus sensitizing them to refer medically compromised dental patients to us and also the patients with systemic disease requiring management of their oral lesions by us.