Australia Day Awards 2020: Dr Sanghamitra Guha, AM

Sanghamitra Guha of Adelaide is honoured with the AM for her significant service to medicine, and to medical education.

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The Adelaide-based Dr Sanghamitra Guha AM told Indian Link, “I feel very honoured to be receiving this honour. It is a recognition of my role in training junior doctors.”

Dr. Guha has spent a significant portion of her career in training the next generations of physicians.

Mitra Guha is currently the Director of Physician Training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australia’s leading public hospital, and Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine.

The Kolkata-born Mitra finished school in Malaysia before moving to Adelaide in 1971. She studied medicine at the University of Adelaide and obtained her MBBS in 1978.

After further studies as a physician, she decided to specialise in Endocrinology as she felt “it is intellectually stimulating and professionally challenging.”

She became a senior Consultant Endocrinologist in 1987, Director of Post-graduate Education in 1990 and Director of Diabetes Services in 1996.

Apart from a year overseas at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston USA on a fellowship programme, all of her medical career has been with the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

As a Fellow since 1986, Mitra has played an active role in the Adult Medicine division of the RACP (Royal College of Physicians) for a number of years, including being Member of the Advanced Training Committee in Cardiology, Pharmacology and Neurology. She is the recipient of the College’s Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Education in 2016 and, in 2010 Excellence in Mentorship Award in Physician Education category.

She was also Chair of Accreditation Committee of SA Medical Education and Training for eight years since 2010.

All of the above roles speak eloquently of her commitment to training and education of medical professionals. When asked to identify a career highlight, she was quick to respond: “Watching my interns emerge as well-trained and qualified physicians.”

What does she have to say, though, about the allegedly draconian laws for admitting India-qualified (or overseas-trained) doctors?

“There are many who have passed! It is not unreasonable to expect that the authorities must be confident that the doctors coming here to serve are capable and confident, and comfortable in their roles. My advice to those who are going through the process currently would be to keep persisting. Be confident of your clinical skills; familiarise yourself with the clinical setting rather than merely concentrating on theoretical understanding.”

Belying the erroneous belief that professionals in scientific fields are less inclined towards things related to arts, Mitra has had deep involvement with the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society of Adelaide, having been its Deputy Chair and then Chair for two years. You can’t separate a Bengali from the love of arts.

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