The School’s Students Focusing on India


Amiya Bhatia is a Master’s degree student at the School interested in program design and evaluation for child and adolescent health programs. At Harvard she is combining the study of epidemiology, anthropology, ethics and economics to understand the causes, structures and policies that drive health inequalities and unequal access to care. 

Sujay Kakarmath is a Master’s degree candidate in the Global Health and Population department.

Mohit Nair is a Master’s degree candidate in the Global Health and Population department.

Manasi Sharma is a second year doctoral student at the School, with a focus on global mental health policy and research, child and adolescent health, psychiatric epidemiology and medical anthropology.

Ramnath Subbaraman is a Master’s degree candidate in the Epidemiology department. His published research in India includes “Delays in diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis in India: a systematic review” (2014),

“The social ecology of water in a Mumbai slum: failures in water quality, quantity, and reliability” (2013), and “Off the map: the health and social implications of being a non-notified slum in India” (2012).


Anubhav and Arunika Agarwal
Anubhav and Arunika Agarwal

Arunika Agarwal, a Master’s degree candidate in the Department of Global Health and Populations, is working on the “Longitudinal Aging Study in India” (LASI) with Dr. David Bloom. LASI is a cross national study targeted to stock situation of the elderly population in India and will help in making evidence based policies for the elderly community. The study is included in Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives (2012).

Kathryn (“Kat”) Andrews, a doctoral student in the Department of Global Health and Population, was recently in Delhi participating in the School’s course on non-communicable diseases in India (GHP 298). After a week of lectures and discussion with local faculty and visits to organizations like WHO and The World Bank, she traveled to Solan, Himachal Pradesh (in northern India) to see the implementation of the m-Power heart project. This project’s aim is to help physicians and health workers evaluate the clinical condition of people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes presented at primary care settings. Kat then worked with a Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) researcher on a project examining the environmental-animal-human interactions involved in Japanese Encephalitis transmission in a district of Uttar Pradesh.

Andrea Feigl
Andrea Feigl

Andrea Feigl, a doctoral candidate at the School, recently attended the 7th Annual Advanced Graduate Workshop on Poverty, Development and Globalization, organized jointly by the Azim Premji University, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and Columbia University’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD). The 2014 Advanced Graduate Workshop took place from January 3-17, 2014 at Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India.

Andrea’s dissertation topic is “Chronic Disease Risk Factors in Developing Countries.”

Aparna Kamath is a Master’s degree candidate in the Department of Global Health and Population at the School and a Research Assistant at the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI). Originally from Bangalore, India, she completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Smith College before heading back to work with the Foundation for Research in Health Systems to develop and launch a mobile health app to improve maternal and child health service delivery in Karnataka.

Aparna’s research interests lie in the area of global health governance, specifically analyzing access to medicines measures in the global trade and investment regime and aid effectiveness measures in the allocation of development assistance for health from bilateral and multilateral donors. Currently, Aparna is working on an HGHI project on understanding access to cancer care in India, with the help of a research grant from Harvard’s South Asia Institute. The study aims to recognize the various regulatory, infrastructural, programmatic and market forces that shape access to breast cancer treatments available in India, to help identify how a resource constrained national health system, alongside the global innovation system, can facilitate equitable access to scientific progress.

Research Synopsis:

Alongside growing awareness of the rising global burden of non-communicable diseases, attention to the issue of access to treatment and care for various types of cancer in low- and middle-income countries has been growing in recent years. However, the literature on this topic is nascent. India is an important country for better understanding global access to cancer care, due to its large population, heavy burden of disease, large and varied health infrastructure, and local production of drugs for cancer treatment.

The study aims to paint a comprehensive picture of the factors shaping access to cancer care, to identify how a resource constrained national health system, alongside the global innovation system, can facilitate equitable access to scientific progress. Analyzing three key areas – the Demographic Characteristics of Cancer in India; the Health System for Cancer Care in India; and the Financing and Management of Cancer Care in India – the study addresses two sets of questions. First, what can be learned regarding the challenges of improving access to cancer treatment and care in resource-constrained settings from the case of India? Second, recognizing that cancer is far from the only health challenge facing India or other low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), what can be learned from a case study of cancer regarding LMIC health systems?

Kathleen Parkes, 2nd year SM2 student in SBS, interned at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) with their Affordable Technologies team during the January term. She interviewed frontline staff on their impressions of the usability of Swasthya Slate, a diagnostic kit integrated with android enabled tablets which can perform 33 diagnostic tests.

Kathleen will return to India during spring break with Project Antares working with HealthTap, a social enterprise which connects patients with questions to a panel of screened doctors who can answer their questions through mobile and desktop web browsing.

HSPH students in India for winter session
The School’s students with local workers in India for winter session

In addition to Kathleen Parkes and Kathryn Andrews, Anna Brewster, Laurie Kost, and Ashlin Mountjoy were in India doing internships with PHFI. They were under the supervision of Dr. Richard Cash, who is a visiting professor at PHFI.

Akshar Saxena, an SD candidate, is working on the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI) with Dr David Bloom. He is also analyzing the effect of retirement benefits and chronic diseases on labor force participation in the elderly in India. In a separate study, he is analyzing the trend of obesity levels in India spanning from colonial to modern time-period.

Kathleen Wirth is a post doctoral research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology. Her dissertation research examined the role of commercial sex work and sex trafficking on the epidemiology of HIV in Southern India.