HSPH researchers help boost public health in India

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Harvard’s connections in India—research collaborations, academic exchanges and partnerships, business ventures involving alumni and faculty—have expanded in recent years, in tandem with the country’s rapid growth. Those connections, including efforts spearheaded by Barry R. Bloom, Atul Gawande, and Richard Cash of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), are outlined in the March-April issue of Harvard Magazine.

Bloom, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Jacobson Professor of Public Health at HSPH, worked with the Indian government and philanthropists during his tenure as HSPH dean (1998-2008) to help establish four schools of public health in India. He first traveled there in 1970 to research leprosy and taught the country’s first-ever course on immunology in 1972 at the All India Institute for Medical Science.

Gawande, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, hopes to improve maternal and newborn health under a $14 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to test a safe childbirth checklist in 120 Indian hospitals.

Cash, senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Population, supervised a team of HSPH students who spent three weeks in January 2012 studying water and sanitation issues in a Mumbai slum known as Cheeta Camp.