Girish Motwani - New Delhi, Gurgaon

New Delhi/Gurgaon, India

Career goal: To pursue a career as an entrepreneur in India’s health care system.

Internship outline: As an intern at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), an organization established to help the country develop its public health capacity through research and collaboration with various players in health care, Girish worked for twelve weeks with Dr. Devaki Nambiar on two projects: one about urban health and the other about universal health coverage (UHC).

Girish traveled across the country to various urban centers (Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Bhopal) to gather information from organizations operating directly or indirectly in the delivery of health services to urban dwellers experiencing social exclusion. These organizations that could serve as valuable models to other, similar organizations. He then compiled the information for a subsection of the urban health chapter of the India Exclusion Report (IXR), an annual report that brings together numerous institutions and organizations that work on the issues of disadvantaged and excluded communities in India. The IXR specifically aims to provide analyses and recommendations for tackling the social exclusion of defined vulnerable populations from public goods, like urban health.

In addition Girish was lead author on a report documenting the innovations for the delivery of health services in the context of UHC in India. The crux of the report was to define health services delivery that goes beyond the traditional economics perspective of innovations that maximize efficiency. The report posits that innovations in health services delivery should go one step beyond increasing access; innovations ought to explicitly address issues of health inequities for them to be relevant for India as it inches towards UHC by 2022. The report serves two purposes: (1) to discuss a new approach the delivery of health services that requires innovations to address issues of equity and (2) to compile examples of what the Government of India and other important players in the health sector of India can do to increase access to health care.

Value of experience: I enrolled in the MPH program at Yale keeping in mind my goal of becoming an entrepreneur in the health care system of India. From the beginning of the MPH program I was determined to secure an internship at an organization like PHFI that would allow me to immerse myself in the Indian health system. Other than learning about India and its health system, I knew that such an internship would allow me to experience living in India and therefore better understand the broader context in which the health system exists.

Best moment/experience: As part of the work that I had to do for the urban health chapter, I got to visit the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The Sambhavna Trust Clinic caters specifically to victims of the Union Carbide disaster of 1984 and relies on Ayurveda for the delivery of its health services. Learning about the many years of excellent work that the clinic has been engaged with was certainly one of several great experiences I had during my summer internship. It made me really happy to learn that environmental health is an area that is beginning to receive attention in India at such a scale; at the same time, however, it was saddening to learn that not enough is being done about environmental health concerns in India.

Funding source: Yale Global Health Initiative: Field Experience Award