A Wide Spectrum of India-HSPH Collaboration

For almost a half century, HSPH has collaborated with Indian government agencies, academic institutions and local organizations to establish research and educational programs that have positively impacted India’s health. HSPH has a strong presence in India, with more than ten primary faculty members and a dozen research associates undertaking a broad and diverse array of projects across the subcontinent. Hailing from nearly every department in the school, they are addressing critical areas to India’s public health sector, ranging from demographic studies on the impact of urbanization, to health interventions to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, to capacity building and technical support for health system reform. Today, HSPH’s engagement includes some of the following projects that span at least five major areas:

Diseases and health problems of public health importance

  • Studies on the effects of nutritional supplementation on maternal and child health
  • Development of HIV/AIDS  and health communications
  • Research on the emerging challenges of non-communicable diseases

Population and development

  • Collaborations with Indian partners to develop India’s first long-term studies on the social, economic, and health challenges of population aging

Determinants of health

  • Collaborative experiments to test approaches to tobacco use cessation in India
  • Collaboration with health rights activists to ensure child and family safety on urban construction sites
  • Research on changing dietary determinants of diabetes in India

    Participants attending the Certificate Course in Evidence Based Diabetes Management session

    Participants attending the Certificate Course in Evidence Based Diabetes Management session

Health systems and financing

  • Analysis of the effectiveness of reforms to government health financing
  • Design and evaluation of state-level health system reform initiatives
  • Development of innovative strategies to engage India’s private health care sector in improving public health
  • Assessing the effects of India’s decentralized governance on public health

Education and capacity-building for public health

  • Teaching and curriculum development for new public health schools in India
  • An annual two week course in nutrition research methods (Bangalore Boston Nutrition Collaborative)
  • Executive education and in-service training on health systems policy and management for state and district level officials

The current range of collaborations is broad, encompassing active large-scale research partnerships, pilot studies breaking new ground in knowledge and methods, translational research to scale-up and implement new solutions to pressing public health needs, and innovative education and training programs. These collaborations engage a diverse set of partners including the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), St. John’s Medical College, India’s International Institute for Population Studies, the Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. HSPH faculty also work with a variety of development agencies active in India such as USAID, the World Bank, the U.K. Department for International Development, and others.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public 

Institute of Development Studies Jaipur, Rajasthan

International Institute for Population Studies

Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre, University of Pune, Maharashtra

Madras Diabetes Research Foundation

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MOHFW)

Keshav Desiraju signing Memorandum of Understanding
Dean Frenk (left) and Keshav Desiraju (former Union Health Secretary) sign Memorandum of Understanding while Christopher Duggan (from left), David Hunter, Wafaie Fawzi and Ashish Jha look on

National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights

National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW)

Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)

Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR)

In collaboration with HSPH,  and the PUKAR team (including Dr. Deshmukh, MPH ’05) have developed a unique and highly innovative community-based participatory research (CBPR) model, in which youth from Mumbai slum communities, called “barefoot researchers,” serve critical roles in informing study design, and doing data collection.

St. John’s Medical College

St. John’s Research Institute 

Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA)

Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh

South Asia Institute

The South Asia Institute (SAI) at Harvard University engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on global issues relevant to South Asia. It also maintains its presence in the region through three regional offices in Mumbai, Dhaka and Islamabad. HSPH has a substantial ongoing collaboration with SAI that supports a significant presence of health issues on SAI’s agenda.

Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute

Tata Institute of Social Sciences