Dr. H. Vinod Bhat is the sixth Vice Chancellor. With an MD in (Community Medicine), he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons, Glasgow.
Dr. Bhat has had a long and illustrious career both as a teacher as well as an able administrator. A researcher at heart, he has several scientific publications in national and international peer reviewed journals to his credit. With his rich experience in research, Dr. Bhat has been responsible for the spectacular growth in external research funding attracted by Manipal University. The Research Directorate which he set up plays a vital role in directing targeted research across all disciplines and is poised for greater expansion. Dr Bhat also established the Manipal University Press converting it into a unique and vibrant entity. Under his stewardship, MUP has published more than 90 publications in its five years of existence.
He has been closely associated with raising endowments for Manipal Hospitals, having been the Chief Medical Officer of Dr. T. M. A. Pai Rotary Hospital, Karkala, Karnataka, for 15 years from 1988 to 2003 and the Chief Operating Officer of Kasturba Hospital, Manipal in 2003–04. He has spearheaded several international projects while at Karkala including the prestigious 3H project for establishing the Eye Hospital which remains the only 3H grant for any Rotary Club in District 3180.
More recently, Dr H Vinod Bhat served as an Advisor to Manipal Global Education Services (MaGE). Dr. Bhat also serves on the Board of the Groep T International University, Leuven, Belgium, the International Board of Advisors of GlobalNxt University, Kuala Lumpur and on the Editorial Board of Journal of Rural and Remote Health, Australia. He is the Co Chair of the FICCI Higher Education Committee for the year 2017 -18.
As a science administrator par excellence, Dr Vinod Bhat has been instrumental in establishing the Office of International Programs which co-ordinates more than two hundred academic linkages with Universities abroad. He also oversees the twinning and student exchange programs. Dr. Bhat has initiated over 25 Dual Degree programs with European Universities in the last six years and is responsible for setting up the Centre for European Studies in Manipal, the first ever in the private sector, with a generous grant from the Delegation of European Union to India. As a part of the Vision 2020 exercise for Manipal where it is envisaged that Manipal will be in the top 200 Universities of the world, he has created over 70 centers in the University in the last 24 months.
He is also closely associated with several new projects like the entry of Manipal into Sri Lanka and South Africa, the expansion of Dubai operations, strategic planning and growth.
‘Changing landscapes.’ That is how Dr Bhat describes his life and work. His early schooling was in Udupi district after which he lived in various cities around the country with his family.
Dr Bhat’s first specialisation after his MBBS was in paediatrics. As a practicing paediatrician, he treated sick children and realised that healthcare interventions produced better results when approached in other ways. His second specialisation, therefore, was in the field of Community Medicine.
He joined Manipal in 1988. For the next 13 years, his landscape was a new hospital he conceptualised, planned and set up at Karkala, with his wife, a gynaecologist and obstetrician. Karkala is a rural centre, and Dr Bhat was entrusted with the responsibility of creating a healthcare facility there, to serve the local community. In October 1998, two doctors, two nurses and two orderlies threw open the doors of an 8-bedded hospital. Everyone did everything, and starting the generator was as much a part of Dr Bhat’s job as attending to patients.
Today, the same TMA Pai Rotary Hospital has 100 beds, and provides quality healthcare in obstetrics, paediatrics and ophthalmology at an affordable cost to people in and around the Karkala Taluk.
In 2001, Dr Vinod Bhat returned to Manipal as Head of the Department of Community Medicine at KMC. He started new healthcare initiatives and added facilities to the Rural Maternity and Child Welfare (RMCW) homes that had been the brainchild of Dr TMA Pai as nerve-centres for delivery of community healthcare. The social programs led to an overall improvement in community health, and today, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of the region is 4.2 per 1000 live births – way below the IMR of India (42 per 1000) or that of Karnataka (35 per 1000). Such has been the impact of monitoring, creating and sustaining healthcare schemes for the community at large, that in the last two years, in a population of 50,000, not a single woman has died during pregnancy or childbirth.
In 2004, Dr Bhat was appointed Director Planning, Manipal University. In 2005, he was appointed as Registrar and in 2010 the Pro Vice Chancellor. From June 1, 2015, he has assumed the role of the sixth Vice Chancellor of Manipal University. Today, he is the face of the university, world over.