Whether it is using one’s own life changing situation into wellness for others, whether it is transitioning the love for elderly into an innovative startup or whether it is discovering one’s inner calling and transforming others’ lives, some women entrepreneurs and CXOs in healthcare are doing exemplary jobs and lighting up the healthcare segment with their wonderful initiatives.
On the occasion of Women’s Day, Medicircle, brings forward success-stories of some inspirational women who are changemakers in the field of healthcare.
1. Ruby Ahluwalia
Ruby Ahluwalia is a bureaucrat, an author, and an experienced financial advisor with rich experience in Project Finance and Public-Private Partnerships. She is the founder of “Sanjeevani - Life Beyond Cancer, which is a non-profit organization established for the prevention and eradication of cancer and for providing care counselling and rehabilitation to persons fighting from this disease especially in the underprivileged segments. Ruby was herself diagnosed with Triple Negative (Stage 3) Breast Cancer in 2009 and she came out of it successfully. She suggests that “if cancer has come in life, it needs to be dealt with as a project. If you deal with it with determination, you can come out of it. It will then become just a thing of the past. People should know that they can be treated. They don't need to lead a sub-optimum life just because they have had cancer. Getting back to normal life is possible,” says Ruby who is a ray of hope and great inspiration for people struggling with this disease. She is a strong example of how to fight back and use a bad experience of a life as a turning point of one’s own as well as other’s success. Her organization, Sanjeevani – Life Beyond Cancer is an award-winning registered Public Trust devoted to enriching the lives of cancer patients and raising the bar of cancer care in India. Since its inception in 2012, it has enriched the lives of over 2,45,000 patients in India.
2. Madhu Singhal
Madhu Singhal is the Founder and Managing Trustee of Mitra Jyothi and an extremely inspirational woman who was born with permanent visual impairment. Mitra Jyothi is a registered trust located at Bangalore and has been working for people with disabilities in general and visually impaired in particular, since 1990. Mitra Jyothi’s mission is to assist visually impaired individuals and enable them to lead independent and dignified lives through Education, Training, Counselling and Communication & Technology so as to integrate them into mainstream families and the society at large. Madhu has won several awards for her exemplary work including Shell Helen Keller Award from NCPEDP in 2001, State Award for Empowerment of Persons with disability from the Government of Karnataka in 2004 and National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. Madhu emphasizes, “I personally feel that when we talk about India having the second largest population of the blind, we are not getting the correct data, if we go to the remote areas, a lot of people are uncounted. When we talk about making them Atma Nirbhar, there are so many ways yet it is a very big question, but nothing is impossible. It can be possible by making schemes by the Government of India, state governments, society, public and parents, group and the person themselves can be made self-reliant. Even the NGOs like Mitra Jyothi have a lot of programs and series, where we are trying to make them Atma Nirbhar by giving them education, providing them the books to educate themselves then later helping them to search for job opportunities options for the persons with visual impairment. Definitely, it is the duty of all of us, whether the government, nongovernment bodies, NGOs, parents, and also the visually impaired themselves to together make this thing possible,” she says.
3. Neha Sinha
Neha Sinha is CEO and co-founder of Epoch Elder Care, which provides high-quality person-centred care for dementia and geriatric patients. She is a Clinical Psychologist and Dementia Specialist and has a burning passion for working for the elderly segment. Neha is committed to making a difference in the field of eldercare of our country. “Epoch Elder Care initially started off with the simple service of providing intellectual companionship by just visiting homes and giving company to the elders who suffered from loneliness due to busy schedules of everyone around them or children staying in another place. We quickly realized that there is much more to be done with elders as families are nuclear, more and more women are working and grandchildren are busier. Added to this, longevity has increased leaving the elderly people lonely for a good number of their lives. Combining all these factors together we got bound to look for solutions and started off as homecare service providers. Then we realized that seniors need specialized care as well. While there are several options for providing services at home it's much difficult to provide services for life-long problems like chronic conditions or dementia. This requires specialization and there are negligible options because of the scarcity of trained people at home and the fact that one cannot admit elders to a nursing home or hospital forever. So, Epoch stepped in to fill the gap and now looks after a very niche segment of elders who need specialized care. It's been a very challenging but fulfilling journey. Just to educate and spread awareness about this segment has been the biggest part of the journey,” narrates Neha. At Epoch, the team believes in focusing on the person as much as the clinical condition. Founded in 2012, Epoch has garnered 8 years of relevant experience in evidence-based global best practices.
4. Dr. Pratiksha Gandhi
Dr. Pratiksha Gandhi is the First Woman Preventive Cardiologist and Founder of IPC (Institute of Preventive Cardiology). IPC is India’s pioneering evidence-based chain of Preventive Cardiac Care. Dr. Pratiksha is also the founder member of the EECP expert committee in India in association with the International EECP registry at Pittsburgh, USA. She has been an investor and business mentor to various health care companies and has successfully expanded businesses globally having launched new and innovative products & devices in the preventive healthcare industry. She is a renowned international speaker and award-winning author with 1000s of articles and several health shows on TV to her credit which spread the message of heart care to millions of people globally. In 2016, the International Association of Cardiologists, New York, USA recognized her as the Leading Physician of the World. She was awarded as one of the Top 50 Global Women Healthcare leaders in March 2017. Dr. Pratiksha walks down the memory lane where it all begins with her first case, wherein a patient came into her then small nursing home way back in 1997 in Mumbai. He was in a complete breakdown condition, she describes, and told her that it is better to die than to go for a surgery, “I asked him why? He said that he has his retirement amount of Rs. 1.5 lakh which he would need to live his life, educate and marry off his children. To which I explained to him that he wouldn’t survive without the surgery. I was emotional, thinking that how can we just let someone die? Of course, in allopathic medicine, we are taught to do angiography, angioplasty, but I am also a trained teacher in yoga and meditation and I have been associated with a research study of reversing heart disease, heart blockages using the yogic techniques. I thought of combining the ancient techniques with modern allopathic techniques. The success of that initiative was that in 6 months not only did that man’s condition reverse but he thrived, so much that he could walk 5- 6 Km at a stretch. This actually laid the foundation of preventive cardiology where we started reaching out to people. Millions of people have been reached globally by now” informs, Dr. Patiksha.
5. Ritu Mittal Garg
Ritu Mittal Garg is Vice President, Fortis Healthcare. She is an ENT specialist who turned to Healthcare Management after spending 12 years in a premier medical school in India. Dr. Garg has handled senior leadership roles across various functions and organizations like Fortis Healthcare, Sakra World hospital, and Amrop. India. Dr. Garg has an astute understanding of healthcare dynamics and changing landscapes in the healthcare segment. She has a keen interest in digital innovation in healthcare and works with health tech start-ups to help build efficient and future-ready healthcare service delivery models. Ritu describes herself as an intrapreneur, “I work with an entrepreneurship spirit in a large organization, and hence, I would call myself an intrapreneur rather than an entrepreneur. I have been able to add the insights of a clinician, a patient, and a business professional together on one table. The challenge for women business leaders is to get a perception about how not to get tangled in the exits that are common in the middle management level. And also, how to manage the business pressures as well as your life pressures. Managing both pressures is key to life’s success. The biggest motivation is to be able to make a difference, the desire to leave behind a legacy. Whatever, work you are doing, there should be something that you should be able to look back with satisfaction and a smile when you sit quietly with a cup of coffee. There are frustrating days or weeks where you seem to be hitting the wall and nothing seems to be moving but be persistent and you will be able to crack it. That intrinsic feeling of being able to crack it and solve a problem is the biggest motivator of all,” emphasizes Ritu.
6. Gauri Shingote
Gauri Shingote is the Chief Executive Officer of Juvenate Wellbeing Private Limited which is a healthy lifestyle focused company. The company works with the mission to provide education in the basics of nutrition and healthy living to all. Gauri is an experienced Clinical Nutritionist, skilled in dietetics, fitness, nutrition and lifestyle management and has been associated with many eminent organizations. Gauri mentions, “With a dream of alleviating malnutrition and changing the face of lifestyle diseases, and the future of our children, I have started the journey of clinical nutrition to community nutrition. Going through multiple focus studies and society norms, we realized it was not about just creating awareness, or education for children, parents, teachers, or the general citizen. It was also about creating or reverting back to our old traditional methodologies of It’s also about understanding or going back to the basics of beliefs in the value systems that we had in the past, especially when it came down to the traditional foods that we eat. We realized that there is a big influence of the foods that we eat. However, with so much going on, people lose track of their health or that becomes side-lined. That was one of the biggest focus we had in terms of alleviating the malnutrition and over nutrition. We can see that both obesity and under nutrition are predominant factors in the spectrum of nutrition in India and primarily in children and there is a need to address that from an early stage,” Says Gauri. “Every coming day we are making a change and that small sustainable change gives you a positive result,” adds Gauri. Her words stand true for all women whose inspirational-stories have been covered in this Women’s Day Special segment of Medicircle.
(Edited by Amrita Priya)