Previously Completed Projects

Exploring the Social and Physical Determinants of Urban Health 
Principal Investigator: David Bloom
Sponsor: Rockefeller Foundation

Dates of Research:
January 1, 2009 — December 31, 2011

The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) worked in close collaboration with Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), based in Mumbai, India, to carry out a multifaceted study of urban health. The project examined the physical and social determinants of health in a disadvantaged urban setting in Mumbai, focusing on water- and immunization-related challenges in particular. All aspect of the project involved collaboration among HSPH students, PUKAR members, and “barefoot researchers”, young members of the community under study who were integral members of the ground team.


Health and Retirement Survey for India
Principal Investigator: David Bloom
Department: Global Health and Population
Sponsor(s): NIH/NIA

Dates of Research:
September 15, 2008 — August 31, 2010

This study prepared the way for increased scientific investigation of the economic, social, and biological determinants and consequences of population aging in India. Internationally harmonized data was disseminated over the Internet to the global research community enabling further coordinated research on the health and well-being of the elderly in India in comparative perspective. This research had the potential to inform policy in India and other Asian Countries, including China, Japan, and South Korea. The long-term goals of this research were to develop a nationally representative survey of aging, health and retirement in India; to provide the foundation for new, rigorous, multidisciplinary studies of aging that will inform policy making and advance scientific knowledge; and to provide internationally harmonized data for cross-national comparative studies on aging to advance understanding of how different institutions, cultures, and policies influence aging. The survey instrument included areas of health such as disease, mental health, and diet, as well as other social indicators including family structure, health care utilization, housing, and employment retirement.


Center for Global Demography of Aging 
Principal Investigator: David Bloom
Department: Global Health and Population
Sponsor(s): NIH/NIA

The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) was initiated in the U.S. nearly two decades ago to provide longitudinal data for researchers, policy analysts, and program planners making policy decisions related to labor supply and savings behavior, the demand for health and life insurance, and social and economic wellbeing of the elderly and their families. The HRS were collectively designed to facilitate direct and close comparisons related to the health and retirement behavior of relatively old populations in different countries. The proposed project aimed to take steps to add India to the growing list of countries who conduct HRS. We recognize that there are many important scientific questions related to health, retirement, and population aging in all countries, but we believe India’s socio and economic characteristics merit special attention. An Indian HRS would be of unusual scientific interest as India’s population is relatively impoverished, primarily rural, substantially illiterate, predominantly informally employed, and is privately responsible for a high share of national health expenditures (75%). For more information, please see this site.


Andhra Pradesh Health Sector Reforms Programme
Principal Investigator: Thomas Bossert
Department: Global Health and Population
Sponsor(s): FHI360

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has embarked upon significant reforms of the health sector, and they have developed a health reform strategy that sets out its vision for the sector, and its commitment to ensure better services for the poor. An emphasis of the Health Strategy is to reduce infant and maternal mortality, communicable disease burden, under-nutrition and regional and social inequalities in health outcomes. Thomas Bossert on behalf of the International Health Systems Program within the Department of Population and International Health helped the program to improve the health status of the people, especially the poorest, of Andhra Pradesh and increase the quality of their health services.


Develop Training Curriculum Project (Human Resources Course in India)
Principal Investigator: Thomas Bossert
Department: Global Health and Population
Sponsor: World Bank

Thomas Bossert works in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) for the World Bank Institute (WBI) which acts as a global catalyst for creating, sharing, and applying the cutting edge knowledge necessary for poverty reduction and economic and social development, and by stimulating the conditions for client countries to be able to utilize knowledge to achieve development goals particularly a development program on health systems policy and management in India. To achieve this goal they designed a 5-6 day health training course with a focus on human resource management. They helped to create the concept, find local Indian resources and staff, and make recommendations for suitable case studies. The team also made recommendations for long-term sustainability of the course.


India HNP (Health, Nutrition & Population) Sector: Decentralization and Public Health Management (Archived)
Principal Investigator: Thomas Bossert
Department: Global Health and Population
Sponsor(s): World Bank

The central government of India and various state governments have made an active commitment towards decentralizing “funds, functions, and functionaries” to local governments and to support local planning. At the same time, management of services and many public health functions need strengthening at state and lower levels of government. In response this project provides technical support on multiple health, nutrition and population projects. The project assists India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to: respond appropriately to the current changes in health systems governance; ensure that its operations are consistent with the development of decentralized government at the different levels; help design innovative mechanisms of decentralization at different authorities; and design and implement effective strategies for better management of public health programs, especially as they relate to the essential public health functions discussed above.


SEARCH–Systematic Explanatory Analyses of Risk Factors Affecting Cardiovascular Health in Brazil, China, India and Mexico
Principal Investigator: Joseph Brain

Dr. Joseph Brain presented the results of his study at “The Future of Human Longevity” conference” at the Swiss Re Center for Global Dialogue on November 11, 2013. The conference was sponsored by: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue and Harvard School of Public Health. See more on this groundbreaking study at this website. In addition, Dr. Brain was instrumental in organizing a symposium on October 15 and 16, 2013 at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the impact of cardiovascular diseases risk factors on health conditions in emerging markets. The symposium was sponsored by Swiss Re, in collaboration with HSPH and swissnex Boston. See more at the swissnex Boston website.