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Infant mortality and tobacco use will be two targets in the crosshairs as Harvard’s public health school opens an outpost Sunday in the world’s second most populous country.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health announced Friday it plans to open an office in Mumbai, building on research collaborations in India that date back over 50 years.
Acting Dean David Hunter plans to speak at an opening ceremony Sunday, accompanied by the dean of Harvard Business School, which opened a center in Mumbai in 2006, according to a press release.
The new office expands Harvard’s global footprint. Unlike some other universities, Harvard does not have international campuses, but it now has 17 international offices, including a center in Dubai run by Harvard Medical School. The public health school has had outposts in Africa for decades, focusing mostly on AIDS.
The Mumbai office space was donated by Dr. Swati Piramal, a graduate of Harvard’s public health school, and Ajay Piramal, a graduate of the university’s business school. Harvard’s public health school will provide staff there to help support and coordinate research and training, according to spokeswoman Julie Rafferty. She said Harvard graduate students and faculty will spend time at the center, and will welcome their Indian peers to visit the school’s campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area.
The collaboration aims to tackle “persistent and daunting public health challenges” in India, such as infant and maternal mortality, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, and traffic deaths and injuries, according to the release.
“We truly believe that the solutions to India’s health problems lie in innovation and structured research in clinical and public health,” said Dr. Piramal. “We hope that the presence of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will contribute positively toward this process.”