‘Uncontrollable, strong, and driven’— possibly the best three words to describe Dr Minnie Bodhanwala’s indomitable spirit the best.
Extremely soft spoken, Dr Bodhanwala speaks in measured words and is mostly full of ideas that can change the world. Born in Bangalore and brought up in Hyderabad in a non-medical background, her only dream in the childhood was to serve the society. To her, being a doctor seemed to be a right choice and she walked on this tough and challenging path.
Bringing smiles to the faces of millions, she graduated in dental surgery and went on to break myth after myth to becoming a pioneer in medical care in India. Since 2012, she has been holding the fort as the CEO of two charitable semi-government hospitals, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, Mumbai.
It goes on to add much more value to the service as this hospital hosts the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the country with 110 beds and more than 28 sub-specialities like cardiology, neurology, nephrology, thus providing comprehensive treatment to children.
Recently, under her leadership the hospital has also started with a Human milk bank and a clinic for children suffering with Multiple disabilities and vision impairment. The IVF clinic started in January a first of a kind initiative in a Public Trust hospital is a boon for patients who cannot afford expensive treatment at private set ups.
Does it stop here? No, the hospitals in her care also conduct regular charitable camps for the underprivileged women and children to give back to the society more than they take.
But has it been an easy ride?
She gave all that she had to write examinations for MBBS and follow her dream of being a cardiac surgeon but didn’t get through. Shattered she was, but she did not stop. Her bliss and purpose came in dentistry. A distinction in General Surgery and Dental surgery pushed and inspired her further to make sure she did better than before always and continued on the path to success. She adds, “Today finding women doctors is easy but when I started out thirty years ago, it was a male-only industry with very few women doctors. To be honest, with 66% representation still coming from men docs it still is. But I see a bright future with more and more women taking the tough route, building their own path and becoming responsible and all-round docs taking the medical industry by storm.”
Though she thinks she could not have been able to do it by herself. For her the relentless support from her family and friends was the key to building up. “I remember when I used to be a lecturer I had to take care of not just my children waiting for me back home but also the 100 students who all were like family. At times, it would get difficult with overlapping responsibilities and I could only walk ahead because of the support from the family.”
A recipient of 40 prestigious national and international awards in the field of hospital and healthcare, she owes the joy of handling patients go to her professor Dr Shree Rama Murthy who is now alive in her fond memories. At the same time her advice to younger ones, docs or no-docs is, “There will be number of challenges coming along with opportunities, sometimes you might fail as well but do not get disheartened, that failure might be your road to achieve success.”
She contemplates laying stress on the right process, “often younger generations care more on achieving the end result without bothering about the steps which they follow, my only wish is to follow the right path, though success sometimes will take long time, Integrity will be something you will always be proud of.”
Women are supposedly good at multitasking and Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala is a perfect example. When not managing the hospitals, she loves cooking for her family-a thing that she thinks binds her to them like nothing else. Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala’s contribution in empowering women and the story of her remarkable journey is truly inspiring and well deserved to be told to nation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A development Sector Professional who started her career in journalism with names like TOI and Tehelka. What inspires Megha the most are the stories of people who learned to fight, to make it large. As an editor for India’s Most Inspiring Success Stories, her aim has been to bring out the stories that inspire to aspire. And for her, it has only reaffirmed her faith in dreaming and achieving.