Dr MH Rao takes charge as new Director of AIIMS Nagpur

Nagpur: Dr Mangu Hanumantha Rao has taken over the charge as the temporary Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Nagpur as the tenure of Dr Vibha Dutta ended last Monday after a years-long glorious professional journey.

Maj Gen (retd) Dr Vibha Dutta has been serving as the first director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Nagpur for almost 5 years. Her tenure ended on Monday after she attained 65 years of age. AIIMS Madurai executive director Dr MH Rao took over her place for a period of six months or till regular appointment.

Dr Rao has worked as the Principal of SV Institute of Sciences in Tirupati. He completed his MBBS from Kurnool Medical College and he secured his MD degree from Rajiv Gandhi University, Bangalore. He started his career as an assistant professor at Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences.

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Soon he started working as a Professor and Head of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Services at SVIMS University and its teaching hospital. For almost 30 years he served as the Principal and Senior Professor at SVIMS Hospital before becoming the Executive Director of the All India Institute Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai last year.

The top position at AIIMS Nagpur has similarly been reduced to that of executive director, with a lesser pay scale. Before Dr Rao, Dr Dutta served as the Director of the institution. When Dr Dutta assumed leadership of AIIMS Nagpur in November 2018, it was still operating out of a temporary site at the GMCH. In December of last year, the first group of 50 first-year MBBS students graduated.

Despite the fact that Dr Dutta has just been in charge for five years and that the term had a 65-year age restriction at the time, officials stated that she was hopeful of getting an extension.

“It was a great tenure, full of challenges and achievements. I got cooperation from all stakeholders without which it would be impossible to establish an institution like AIIMS in such a short period,” Dr Dutta informed TOI.

According to officials, Dr Dutta’s background as a military officer was helpful in resolving management problems that public medical colleges had both during and after the Covid era. Military regulations were imposed and many faculty members and medical students found them to be quite strict.

Throughout her four and a half years, students who showed up late for class or stayed up late at the hostel had to face serious consequences, such as detention for weeks to months. She never sought faculty input, in contrast to other medical campuses where monthly college council meetings are the norm. Students and faculty members shared details of their struggles on social media in December, reports the Daily. 

“Opinion of all department is necessary in a civilian hospital. In the military, the boss never takes the opinion of others, it is fine there. Here, you need to show collective leadership. She lacked experience of a civilian setting and the staff and students had little idea about military pattern. This was a mismatch,” said a faculty member. However, nonetheless, despite her strict monitoring and administrative approach, many lauded her for bringing development in AIIMS Nagpur. 

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