2023 Fellows

Yusuf Hamied Faculty Fellowships

Hamied Fellows: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Exploring Strategies for the Reduction of Trash Burning in Urban Slums in India

Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Epidemiology
Associate Dean for Research Resources

Cleaner air means a healthier future for children and generations to come. Here, we propose to focus on trash burning, as a point source of air pollution in urban slums and we propose to do pilot work in Jaipur. We will work with community-based partners to first, identify community needs via focus groups, key informant interviews and transect walks; second, meet with the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board and the Jaipur Municipal Council regarding solutions to trash burning; and finally to work with the Birila Institute of Technology’s Animation Laboratory to develop culturally sensitive smart phone apps to alert slum residents to the problem and report incidents of trash burning to the local authorities. Capacity building with state and local policy makers, grassroots organizations, and the technical workforce will position the community for sustained action.

Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak is professor of epidemiology, vice chair of the Department of Epidemiology for Research and Associate Dean of Research Resources at the Mailman School of Public Health.  She has had over 30 years of experience studying the effects of early life exposures to toxic metals, toxic chemicals and environmental stress and developmental outcomes in children, including lead, arsenic, pesticides and plasticizing chemicals.  Much of this work has been performed in international settings, and has, in part, informed several US policies regarding allowable limits for these agents.      

Partnership and Local Evidence for Implementation of Evidence-based Cancer Control in India

Parisa Tehranifar, DrPH
Associate Professor at CUMC
Department of Epidemiology

The aim of this project is to contribute to training and research in implementation science and its application for reducing the burden of breast and cervical cancer in India, the dominant causes of female cancer deaths. Through building collaborations with researchers and public health stakeholders in India, this project will seek to promote the development of local evidence on effective implementation strategies for cervical and breast cancer control in India.

Dr. Tehranifar, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at CUIMC and Director of the DrPH Program in Epidemiology, has interdisciplinary training and expertise in cancer epidemiology, implementation science and sociomedical sciences. Her research focuses cancer prevention and screening, with the goal of informing strategies that prevent and reduce disparities in evidence-based interventions. She is a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Population Science Program.

Hameid Fellows: India

Access, utilization,​ and health disparities in mental health​

Shankar Das

Shankar Das, PhD​
Dean and Professor​
School of Health Systems Studies (SHSS)​
TATA Institute of Social Sciences​

Dr. Das’s project work is concentrated on evidence-informed policy and practice, especially in the areas of health systems and mental health care in the context of national and global health. His interests lie in developing greater insights into the mental health care access, utilization and health disparities in a cross-cultural context and how the complementary and alternative health approaches in the cross-cultural settings prevent mental health problems and promote the health of the population. His research in three distinct areas aims to: a) monitor mental health status to identify community mental health problems, b) investigate and analyze mental health problems and mental health risks in the community, and c) develop strategies and interventions to inform, educate, and empower people about mental health issues.

Dr. Das is Dean of the School of Health Systems Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. He has over three decades of experience as a teacher, trainer, researcher, and human resources development practitioner in the field of health and development. His professional skills mainly include public health, health promotion, primary health care, and professional education; he has extensive experience working at the senior level with and within the Government, Public Sector, academia, and organizations at local, state, national, and international levels. The focus of his work is evidence-informed policy and practice across the spectrum of public health issues and strategies.

Aging and the life course: Exploring appropriate, evidence-informed age-friendly health system interventions

Allen Ugarol

Allen Ugargol, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Practice, Centre for Public Policy 
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB)

As the aging phenomenon presents itself across India in line with the demographic transition, the challenges and needs of older adults are becoming increasingly visible. The public health and societal challenges of aging are significant for India and a holistic understanding of the socio-economic, medical, emotional, physical, and psychosocial needs of older adults is hence warranted. It is hence of interest to explore aging within a life course perspective and look at ways to overcome challenges and disparities that older adults face. There are impending gaps in geriatric care, familial care within the societal and medical construct of aging that often results in ageist stereotypes, neglect and inappropriate solutions.

Dr. Ugargol's project on aging and the life course examines older adults who are often bereft of social security and pension income and who now face the added challenge of adult children moving away, breaking the expected tradition of familial support in the latter part of the life course. His mixed methods exploration of the challenges posed by aging in emigrant households and households with widowed or single community-dwelling older adults aims ultimately to chart the life course trajectory for these older adults and aims to think of appropriate, evidence-informed age-friendly health systems that can provide healthy aging solutions for older adults. The project focuses on health and care needs of older adults situated within social and cultural norms that produce inequities within the backdrop of family transitions, migration and the life course trajectory of older adults. With a research portfolio that explores aging and the life course in India with an eye toward addressing challenges and disparities affecting older adults, his work has focused on geriatric care issues, challenges to care, and gaps in familial care. Drawing on parallels between the US and India, he aims to explore age-friendly health system initiatives, test the resilience of the intergenerational contract and reflect on suitable health policy interventions.

Dr. Ugargol is a public health pracademic, a social epidemiologist and an applied demographer with significant practice experience and research interests in health policy, health systems, aging and gerontology, social epidemiology, and healthcare management. He was awarded the ICMRs’ – Prof. Surinder Mohan Marwah Award for 2020 for his sustained research work in the area of Aging and Geriatrics in India. His research has been published in journals such as the Ageing and Society, BMJ, Asian Population Studies, BMJ Open, and Ageing International.