A tribute to Prof Dr Aruna Mehta (1943 – 2019) on her birthday 10 March, by Dr Shankar Iyer (USA)
Dr Aruna Mehta completed her BDS and postgraduation in Prosthodontics from the prestigious Government Dental College & Hospital, Mumbai. She had a long academic career of 53 years where she climbed the ladder to Head the department in GDC & H Mumbai and Nagpur and D Y Patil Dental College, Navi Mumbai. An astute academician, she was indeed a doyen of prosthodontics, who guided countless students throughout her tenure. She defined human relationships through her actions, care and love and touched many lives. A tribute to Dr Aruna Mehta on her birthday today (10th March) by one of her outstanding PG students Dr Shankar Iyer (USA).
Every graduate student needs to be inspired to accomplish his or her career goals. To make this dream come true all of us require not just an interim mentor for the program but a lifelong coach.
The following will highlight what Professor Dr Mrs Aruna Mehta meant to all of us.
As Lucia Traynor says it well “A mediocre mentor tells, a good mentor explains, a superior mentor demonstrates and the greatest mentor inspires” Dr Aruna Mehta personified the ultimate mentorship. The hallmark of any Academic hierarchy is to achieve the status of a Post Graduate Guide. This position marks the culmination of years of devotion, inquiry, instructions and determination. Dr Mehta’s legacy has left a trail of stalwarts in prosthodontics that is unparalleled in the field restorative dentistry. The following tribute attempts to scratch the surface of the giant’s accomplishments and characteristics found only in the rarest of academicians.
A graduate from GDC, class of 1968, “Mehta Madam” as she was fondly called embarked upon a career in teaching at the same college where she served as tutor and instructor for several years. Her passion for Prosthetic dentistry earned her a seat in the Post Graduate Program at GDC Mumbai one of the country’s top PG programs. Dr Mehta was tutored under the doyens of the erstwhile Prosthodontists of GDC - Drs. Udani, Barua, Master and a whole litany of talented professors. Mehta madam’s zeal to teach was reflected not just in prosthodontics, but also for lessons in life. She moulded every undergrad student, who took her classes, to further themselves and to challenge their future and become successful in their career. Her reputation as a teacher was recognized not just in the field of prosthodontics, but by every specialist who graduated from GDC from all other departments. She was known for her sparkling smile and charming countenance. One always associated her with reliance and as a confidant. You could run to her with your troubles and she went out of her way to find solutions – she made your problem as hers and never stopped till you were relieved.
In recognition of Dr Mehta’s selfless work and how she had influenced me, this is a small token of appreciation in the form of a research award has been planned to benefit enthusiastic scholars who wish to advance the field of pros through the research. Having been a beneficiary of madams’ benevolence. I hope to keep her legacy alive and remembered.
Written by: Dr Shankar Iyer
Dr Shankar Iyer completed his Master of Dental Surgery in Prosthodontics from the Government Dental College & Hospital, Mumbai in 1990 under the guidance of Dr Aruna Mehta, after which he attended the New York University College of Dentistry where he received his DDS in 1994. After being in private practice for four years, Dr Iyer went on to pursue a certificate program in Prosthodontics in NYU. He taught in the Department of Post Graduate Prosthodontics at NYU after his graduation in 2002. Since 2009 he has been teaching in New Jersey Dental School, UMDNJ (now known as Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine) in the departments of Restorative Dentistry and Periodontics. Dr. Iyer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology, Fellow of the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontists and Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Recently he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He is the Director of the AAID Maxi courses in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and India. Dr Iyer maintains a private practice limited to Implant Dentistry and Prosthodontics in New York and New Jersey.