India Center Director
K. “Vish” Viswanath, PhD, is director of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health India Research Center. He is also the Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication at Harvard Chan. He holds a joint appointment at the MacGraw-Patterson Center for Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is director of the Center for Translational Health Communication Science at the Harvard Chan School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Professor Viswanath has an extensive track record of research in the U.S. and globally on the role of health communication in health and well-being, with a particular interest in the issues of inequalities and poverty. His research portfolio, funded by U.S. federal agencies as well as various national and international foundations, includes studies on the use of new information and communication technologies in health promotion; the role of communication in public health emergencies; vaccination; tobacco control; and cancer prevention. He has been recognized by numerous organizations for his research contributions to public health policy and practice.
He is a co-chair of the India Learning Network on Tobacco Control (iLEARNT), a network formed to accelerate tobacco-control efforts through collaboration and sharing of lessons learned among government, civil, and corporate sectors in India. Among his projects in India include work with a Foundation on tobacco cessation among patients, scientific advisory to the Center for Social and Behaviroal Sciences, Ashoka University and work on an Initiative to Promote Evidence-Based Public Health among decision-makers, practitioners and journalists.
For a more detailed biography of Professor Viswanath, please visit his faculty page.
India Center Assistant Director
Ananya Awasthi, MPH, received her master of public health degree in global health and population from the Harvard Chan School in 2016. She received a formal education in dental surgery in India, before realizing that she would have greater impact on improving people’s lives through policy development and implementation. She has since worked at the intersection of government, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions to support the development of public health programming, health systems strengthening, and community outreach. Ms. Awasthi is experienced in impact assessment, management consulting, and policy analysis for public-led initiatives in low- and middle-income countries.
The Center has established an advisory council in India that will provide advice, guidance, and support to the Center’s leadership. The council, which is co-chaired by Center Director K. “Vish” Viswanath, consists of six council members with representation from the corporate, public health, and nonprofit sectors. The India Center Advisory Council meets twice a year.
Mr. Mintoo Bhandari serves as the Managing Director of Apollo Global Management’s (AGM) India Advisors Private Limited. Mr. Bhandari is a Senior Partner Apollo Global Management’s India dedicated fund since December 22, 2016. Mr. Bhandari was the Principal Founder and Managing Director of The View Group, L.P. Prior to founding VIEW in 1992, he was employed at Harvard Management Company, Inc where he was a member of the private equity team and later a manager of hedge fund capital. Mr. Bhandari has deep experience as an Investor in private and public enterprises in both the United States and India. Mr. Bhandari received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1992 and a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987.
Mr. Ranjit Shahani has served as the Managing Director and Vice Chairman at Novartis India Ltd. since 2005. He is a mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and and also holds an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai. He started his career with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in India in their businesses of fibers and specialty chemicals. Later, he rose to the position of General Manager with ICI, Zeneca in the U.K., overseeing their Asia Pacific and Latin American operations for their petrochemicals and plastics division. This was followed by a period as CEO at Roche Products Limited after which he moved to Novartis India Limited in 1997. Mr. Shahani was President of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India till 2013 and is President of the Swiss Indian Chamber of Commerce India.
A Partner at Origami Consultants, Anupa developed the consulting arm of the company in 2001. She was part of the McKinsey India start-up office in 1993, specializing in financial services. She subsequently worked with Capital One and American International Group (AIG) to establish their India entry strategies and presence. She began her career at Touche Ross in London, specializing in insurance investigation work. Anupa is an Associate Chartered Accountant, Institute of England & Wales and holds a Bachelors degree (Double Honours) in Economics, Finance and Accounting.
Dr. Rati Godrej graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine in 1988. She completed her training in Internal Medicine from Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She has been living in Mumbai India since 1991. Her professional experience in India has included being a clinical consultant for the U.S. Consulate Medical Unit in Mumbai India from 1994 till 2014 and a deputy medical director for the Asian Heart Hospital from 2009 to 2011. She has served on the Ethics Committee of the Tata Memorial Hospital and served as a board member for IKP Centre for Technologies in Public Health (ICTPH), a public health organization committed to creating innovations to improve the access and quality of health care in rural India. She is a trustee for The Foundation for Research in Community Health. She is also on the board of trustees for the Framjee Cawasjee Institute in Mumbai, an institute founded in 1862, which provides financial assistance to low income students in local schools and colleges, to support them in achieving their educational and professional goals.
Padmini Somani heads the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation that supports projects on health, education, livelihood, governance, art and culture. Padmini is also the founder of Salaam Bombay Foundation and Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health. She also serves on various other trust boards of schools and institutions including the Ambuja Cement Foundation and Ambuja Education Trust, Indian Institute for Craft Design (IICD) and on committees of the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra. Padmini has an M.Sc. in Financial Economics from University of London, U.K. She is an alumnus of the Sophia College for Women, Mumbai, London School of Economics and London Business School.
Swati Piramal is Vice Chairperson and Whole-time Director of Piramal Enterprises. She also serves as a member of the Prestigious Harvard Board of Overseers and Dean’s Advisor to Harvard Business School and Public Health.
She had the honour of serving as an Adviser to the Honourable Prime Minister from 2006 to 2014 in science, technology and economic policy. Dr. Swati Piramal holds a Medical Degree from Mumbai University and a Masters Degree in Public Health from the prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has been awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s Highest Civilian Honours, by the President of India in 2012.