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Johns Hopkins Medicine Building Bridges to Healthier India - 11/17/2014

Johns Hopkins Medicine Building Bridges to Healthier India

Made possible by more than $5 million in gifts from Ujala and Wyncote Foundations
Release Date: November 17, 2014

The Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE) at Johns Hopkins Medicine, with significant financial support from the Ujala Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation, has named eight new scholars to improve health care in India, with a particular focus on fighting tuberculosis.

“We are incredibly grateful for the contributions of these generous partners,” says Robert C. Bollinger, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine, public health and nursing and director of CCGHE. "With this support, we can build on our success providing education that improves the health of millions of people in India. We hope these gifts will inspire other potential donors to support our mission."

“Tuberculosis is an enormous problem in India, which reports 26 percent of all tuberculosis cases globally,” said Amita Gupta, M.D., associate professor of medicine and deputy director of CCGHE.

The CCGHE trains, supports and empowers health care providers and health researchers in resource-limited communities. Since its founding in 2005, CCGHE has trained more than 10,000 health care providers in more than 20 countries.

"In our personal lives and more recently through Ujala, our Family Foundation, we have been very honored and pleased to contribute to the success of the mission of CCGHE both in India and other regions of the world," said Raj and Kamla Gupta, founders of Ujala Foundation.

In addition to funding new scholars and their research, CCGHE will develop a massive, open online course—or MOOC—that addresses gender-based violence in India. The MOOC will be available to as many as 25,000 health care providers in India who will learn how to identify women at risk, and provide them with both clinical and social support.    

 “Wyncote Foundation’s gift to the CCGHE is based on their substantial work in addressing the medical care that is critically needed in small communities in India, and in developing model initiatives that can be used in other far-flung regions of the world," says David Haas of the Wyncote Foundation's Board of Directors. "In addition to this fundamental approach to global health research and practice, our gift acknowledges the strong leadership team of Amita Gupta and Robert Bollinger.”

The following are the eight CCGHE scholars:  

The Ujala Scholars

  • Jyoti Mathad, M.D., M.P.H., instructor of medicine, Weill Cornell School of Medicine, has been working for the past three years in India. Starting as an infectious diseases fellow interested in tuberculosis in India, Dr. Mathad is supported by the Ujala Foundation in her unique research to understand the immune changes of pregnancy and the risks of developing tuberculosis in India. 
  • Akshay Gupte, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., is a Ph.D. candidate in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gupte trained in internal medicine at BJ Medical College in India and completed his M.P.H. at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has been accepted into the doctoral program in International Health, and his thesis will focus on understanding how tuberculosis impacts long-term lung health and disability. Dr. Gupte is also working with Dr. Gupta, Dr. Bollinger and the Indo-U.S. team in Pune and Chennai in the NIH and Indian government-funded consortium to conduct tuberculosis research in Indian populations. Ujala funds have provided him tuition support for his doctoral work in lung health and tuberculosis in India.
  • Jessica Elf, M.P.H., is a Ph.D. candidate in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who worked on global tobacco issues before becoming a doctoral student. She is mentored by Dr. Gupta and Dr. Jonathan Golub of the Johns Hopkins Tuberculosis Center. She received the NIH Fogarty Fellowship and lived in India for the past year studying the impact of indoor air pollutants on children’s risk of developing tuberculosis. She is using Ujala Foundation funding to complete her work to understand household air pollution and its effect on women and children, whose developing lungs are especially impacted by pollution created by biomass fuel burning used for cooking and heating homes in slum areas.
  • Rupak Shivakoti, Ph.D., is a Nepal native who came to Johns Hopkins to complete his Ph.D. in immunology and virology. Realizing he wanted to do more field work in South Asia, he joined CCGHE and is developing field studies that combine his expertise in immunology and response to infection to study the interactions between human inflammation, the gut’s microbiome, diet and immunity. Ujala funding supports his work to understand inflammation in HIV in India and beyond, and he is under the guidance of Dr. Gupta and Dr. Bollinger.
  • Vidya Mave, M.D., M.P.H., was born in India and completed her medical training at a government medical college in rural India followed by an infectious diseases fellowship at Tulane University. She is currently the clinical research director of the JHU-BJ Government Medical College Clinical Trials Unit in Pune. She has returned to India full time and coordinates a wide range of research projects, led and supervised by Dr. Gupta. Ujala funds support Dr. Mave’s critical research management efforts.
  • Nikhil Gupte, Ph.D., is an Indian Native who received his Ph.D. in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins under the auspices of Dr. Bollinger’s NIH Fogarty program.  Ujala funds support Dr. Gupte to direct and lead the research data management program in Pune, as well as provide training and support in biostatistics to the Indo-U.S. scientific team. He is based full time in Pune.

The Wyncote Scholars

  • Maunank Shah, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, conducts research in tuberculosis diagnostics and oversees the tuberculosis clinic of the Baltimore City Health Department. Dr. Shah recently has developed miDOT, a novel mobile health application for smart phones that provides video-based, direct, observed tuberculosis treatment in collaboration with CCGHE's startup company, emocha Mobile Health.
  • Natasha Chida, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins; Dr. Chida and Dr. Shah will work with the CCGHE’s Indo-U.S. research program to pilot miDOT in India.