In 2001, Plastic Surgeon Dr Jyotsna Murthy signed an agreement for Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (SRMC) to become a Smile Train partner. The impact of this moment, and the extraordinary woman behind it, is hard to overstate — it has, with no exaggeration, changed the lives of tens of thousands of people in India and around the world.
As a professor at SRMC, Dr Murthy has mentored and trained dozens of cleft surgeons, many of whom have gone on to become Smile Train partners themselves. She’s led research on the psychosocial impact of untreated clefts and studied genetics to find how clefts form. More directly, the SRMC team recently surpassed 12,000 free cleft surgeries — 7,000 of which, Dr Murthy performed personally.
Unfortunately, Dr Murthy was diagnosed with cancer and started chemotherapy. Dr Murthy (in true SmileMaker fashion) says that her work inspires her to fight cancer. “Providing a smile for a child living with an untreated cleft is my elixir — it helps me overcome the discomfort of chemo sessions,” she said.
In February 2018, Smile Train India was planning an event to introduce a new celebrity Smile Train Ambassador and announce SRMC’s amazing milestone of 12,000 free cleft surgeries. The team recognised the event as the perfect occasion to plan a surprise tribute to Dr Murthy as she battles cancer — and getting support for this idea was easy.
On the day of the event, Dr Murthy was surprised to see 500+ former cleft patients as she entered the event hall. It was a room bursting with gratitude for the woman who had so drastically improved their lives.
Smile Train’s Vice President and Regional Director of South Asia, Mamta Carroll, said at the event, “It gives me great pleasure to honour Dr Murthy for her relentless contribution to the cause of clefts globally. SRMC is a model Smile Train partner — a great example of the impact of quality comprehensive cleft care. Dr Murthy is a very sensitive, compassionate, and warm person who is great at forging relationships built on empathy, genuine concern, and a desire to help. We are honored and privileged to work with her.”
Surrounded by her admirers, Dr Murthy brought the room back to the importance of SRMC’s work, “Helping children born with clefts is our passion and motto at Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute. Through our 17 years of association with Smile Train, we’ve spread awareness for timely corrective cleft surgeries, speech therapy, and complete interdisciplinary care. We want to ensure that children born with clefts get the support they need to integrate into society. We hope to continue reaching new milestones and helping children born with clefts lead fulfilling lives.”
Smile Train staff and partners around the world congratulate Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute on this amazing milestone. We send a collective “thank you” to Dr Murthy and wish her a full and speedy recovery.
If you would like to help Dr Murthy and dedicated local Smile Train partners just like her around the world provide forever smiles to children in need, please make a gift today.