Gift from Alumna Swati Piramal and family inspires new HSPH-India collaborations

Swati Piramal

Dr. Swati Piramal, MPH '92

Spring 2014 ]

Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Swati Piramal, MPH ’92, and her husband, Ajay, HSPH will open a research and training center in the center of Mumbai that will facilitate the School’s longstanding collaborations in India and launch important new projects in the future.

Piramal’s hope is that the new gift of office space and substantial funding will strengthen HSPH’s efforts to improve health care in India in the many areas where it lags behind. She envisions an India “where a mother does not have to worry if her child will survive; where she has the strength to both look after her children and contribute to the country’s economy; where she doesn’t have to trudge miles to get simple health care; where she can determine the size of her family; where she can keep her family safe from disease; where she can look forward with a positive outlook for her future; and where she can dream of being healthy and strong.”

Kasisomayajula “Vish” Viswanath, professor of health communication at HSPH, who will lead the new center, calls the gift from the Piramals “transformative.”

“Having this new space in Mumbai will provide HSPH with a platform to facilitate and stimulate the School’s activities in Mumbai and throughout India,” he says. “Our hope and vision is that having a physical presence there will support our work in many areas, including research, training, and translation and communication around public health issues.”

HSPH’s ongoing work in India includes projects in primary health care delivery, child labor trafficking, the welfare of the elderly, maternal and child health, and tobacco cessation. Viswanath expects the new center to spur a wide range of School activities—such as providing training for would-be public health leaders, running workshops on various public health subjects, and providing a home base for students doing research or internships in India.

Piramal is one of India’s leading scientists and industrialists. She is vice chairperson of Piramal Enterprises, a multinational business that encompasses the health care, drug discovery, and research industries. As director of the Piramal Foundation, she helps promote health in rural India. She also serves on HSPH’s Board of Dean’s Advisors, is a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, and received an Alumni Award of Merit from HSPH in 2012.

Says Piramal, “HSPH has vast global experience that can bring both technology and skills to find innovative solutions for India’s health care needs. With the help of HSPH, we will be able to make an impact for millions of people—not only in India, but around the world.”

Karen Feldscher

Photo: Kent Dayton / HSPH

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