The World Health Organization (WHO) considers public health as all organised measures (public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, prolong life among the population as a whole, and provide conditions where people can be healthy. This necessitates large population-based perspectives and approaches. The School of Public Health will build on the unique strengths and focus of Ahmedabad University on interdisciplinary education to train individuals equipped to develop innovative solutions that are both contemporary and wholistic to address the challenges of the 21st century. Public health includes physical and mental health as well as wellness, and the problems, as well as solutions, are complex and interdisciplinary. Ahmedabad University’s unique stepwell logo aligns closely with public health as it encompasses many positive dimensions that impact health, such as physical activity, social interactions as well as community access to water, and disaster preparedness in this era of climate change. The School of Public Health aims to develop leaders who can offer contemporary interdisciplinary solutions, drawing from the Indian ethos, to address ongoing and unimagined challenges.
To improve public health and the environment locally, nationally, and globally through research, training, and developing, disseminating, and implementing sustainable evidence-based interventions, programmes, and policies.
Fostering conditions in which people can be healthy includes not only lifestyle factors but also tackling global environmental problems, especially climate change, which will otherwise become a formidable risk factor for morbidity and mortality. India has the highest deaths from air pollution globally, and access to safe water is a major challenge in many parts of the world. Water and agricultural policies impact air pollution, which, in turn, impacts water quality. Hence, maintaining a healthy state and healthy conditions is increasingly complex and largely beyond the control of individuals. We need to educate leaders capable not only of bold, out-of-the-box thinking to create innovative solutions but also have the tools to design and conduct research integrating tools like data science and artificial intelligence.
Adequate solutions to complex public health problems may have an impact beyond health and often need expertise from and engagement with several disciplines. Hence, public health inherently relates to disciplines, such as Medicine, Environmental Science, Engineering, Agriculture, and Urban and Infrastructure Planning and Management. Predicting trends and understanding complex arrays of risk factors in a way that is sustainable and has an overall net benefit (not limited to health) and monitoring the impact of policies and interventions requires systems thinking. Addressing major problems will also require bold and creative action to motivate people, communities, and organisations to change norms to improve human and planetary health. The initial focus will be on Environmental Health, as well as on Analytical Sciences. The latter will include both traditional approaches (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) as well as novel approaches (Data Science) to design, analyse and understand large complex datasets. We plan to include these as complementary specialisation areas within Analytical Sciences, which can be applied to understand both environmental concerns as well as lifestyle factors that impact health. Understanding complex risk/preventive factors that impact health will enable the development and implementation of data-driven evidence-based interventions to reduce climate change and its impact. The long-term goal of the School of Public Health is to encompass key public health components and core competencies at or above global standards and to create novel integrative initiatives. In addition to speciality training programmes, we are also driven to increase awareness of public health issues and promote solutions through educating and inspiring a range of disciplines and the public at large.
Given the impact of climate change on health and the urgent need to reduce climate change, the overall goal of the School of Public Health is to protect and improve health and the environment locally and globally through impactful research, training, and health promotion. We believe that small steps taken consistently by many can make a huge improvement in our health and our planet. Every step counts!
Ahmedabad University focuses on interdisciplinary research, education, and experiential learning to bring societal change. The objectives for our School of Public Health are aligned with the overall University’s mission. Our aims include the following:
We aim to reduce our carbon footprint and improve health through educating and inspiring not only health professionals but also communities and other entities to make eco-friendly and healthy choices. Hence, education, research, and health promotion are central to the School of Public Health, and will be more purposeful when integrated with each other around common goals. The goals for health promotion will focus on implementing initiatives that are cost-saving, no-cost, or low-cost and that can be disseminated through digital technology or mass communication and can be adopted by underprivileged segments of society globally. Our research goals accordingly will be geared towards finding such novel modifiable factors that could be translated into innovative interventions, programmes, and policies at the individual, organisation, national, and global levels and evaluation of their impact. The goals for training are hence to develop comprehensive and innovative interdisciplinary programmes. The initial focus will be on environmental health and analytical sciences, including data science. In the long run, we aim to cover a range of degree programmes from undergraduate to doctorate and speciality areas, as well as to engage with the public, organisation leaders, and other policy makers
The School of Public Health was envisioned since the University’s inception, and it is our fourth School at this very critical time when there is a growing need for and awareness of public health. The University’s ongoing high-quality, innovative, interdisciplinary programmes and the emphasis on research and social impact provide an unparalleled setting for its public health mission.
I am both excited and humbled to serve as the first Dean of this School.
Susmita and Subroto Bagchi Professor of Public Health
School of Public Health
Susmita and Subroto Bagchi Chair Professorship in Public Health
Odia writer Susmita Bagchi and entrepreneur, Subroto Bagchi, Co-Founder, Mindtree, endowed a Chair Professorship in Public Health at Ahmedabad University in December 2020 to be held by the Dean of the forthcoming School of Public Health.
Susmita Bagchi, who writes in Odia and English, has been conferred with the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 for her short story collection, Akasha Jeunthi Katha.She is the Chairperson of the Mo School Programme in Odisha. Subroto Bagchi is a prolific business writer and an institution builder. The Government of Odisha has appointed him as the Chairman of the Odisha Skill Development Authority.
Vice Chancellor of Ahmedabad University, Professor Pankaj Chandra said, “This Chair Professorship supports our interdisciplinary perspective around problem solving and is a very important step towards attracting the best minds of the world to our upcoming School of Public Health. This gift allows the University to seed teaching and research in one of the most critical areas of our times.It will also allow us to establish a research programme around data and evidence in public health.
We are grateful to Ms and Mr Bagchi, who have been long term supporters of the university, for their contribution towards the cause of public health and education in India.”
Professor Kaumudi Joshipura, Dean, School of Public Health, is the first Susmita and Subroto Bagchi Professor of Public Health.