JANUARY 19, 2023

Announcing New GKII Faculty Co-Chair, Dr. Sara Bennett

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Bennett, PhD, to Faculty Co-Chair of the Gupta-Klinsky India Institute Dr. Bennett fills the role vacated by faculty co-chair Dr. David Peters, who left JHU recently to become dean of the faculty of health at York University in Toronto.
Dr. Bennett, who is Professor and Associate Chair of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Director of the Health Systems Program, is highly accomplished and well regarded in the field of health policy and systems research. Her professional expertise includes health workforce issues such as health financing, and health markets in low- and middle-income countries, and her research has had a significant impact on the development of the field. She has made important contributions to institutional capacity development, health systems governance, and the use of evidence in policy and decision-making. Her career includes both academic and policy positions, including former Chair of Health Systems Global, editor of Health Policy and Planning, and Executive Director of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the World Health Organization. She has worked extensively in India including in the areas of examining policies related to health management information systems; distribution and retention of rural doctors; and national knowledge platforms.

“Enticing Sara to join me at the helm is a major coup for GKII,” said Amita Gupta, GKII’s founding Faculty Co-Chair. "She is a brilliant and thoughtful scholar with a steadfast commitment to improving health systems globally and has thoughtfully studied India’s models. We are excited at what she offers the institute, and we are positively delighted to work with her.”

“I’m thrilled to join Amita Gupta and the rest of the team at GKII,” Bennett said. “They have helped facilitate some incredible achievements in a very short period of time. I’m looking forward to working together to create meaningful, real-world change.”
McCoy Joins GKII as Executive Director 

After an extensive search led by the GKII faculty steering committee, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Melody McCoy as the new executive director for GKII.

McCoy joins GKII following 15 years as Vice President of Global Engagement and Communications at Jhpiego, an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University that works with partners in low- and middle-income countries to improve health among women and families. Prior to that, McCoy worked for the United States Congress and held various roles in state and local government.

Capitalizing on her strengths in fostering impactful global partnerships, McCoy will manage GKII’s stakeholder engagement, project performance and portfolio growth, and strategic organizational development and implementation.

“I’m looking forward to taking on this role with GKII,” McCoy said. “I’m passionate about the GKII values. My career in public service aligns with our mission of creating a more equitable society. I hope to utilize my experience and skills to further these goals and work on this great new challenge.”

“We are very excited to welcome Melody to GKII,” said Faculty Co-Chair Dr. Amita Gupta. “She is an experienced leader who has a wealth of expertise in and understanding of public-private partnerships. We’re thrilled she’s joined at this time in GKII’s strategic and organizational development.”
2022 Breakthrough Research Grant Awardees

We are so pleased to announce the 2022 awardees for GKII’s Breakthrough Research Grants Program! The Breakthrough Research Grants Program is designed to support JHU faculty pilot projects involving interdisciplinary collaborations with India-based research institutes. This inaugural opportunity focused on non-communicable diseases and disorders (NCDs) across the human lifespan.

Of the 15 applications for this cycle, the following projects were awarded. Congratulations to the following recipients!

  • Prasanna Santhanam, MBBS, MD. Associate Director, Communications, Division of Endocrinology and Associate Professor. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Project: AI and machine learning to predict cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes in South Asian urbanized population with Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Sara Benjamin-Neelon, PhD, JD, MPH. Director of the Lerner Center, Helaine and Sidney Lerner Professor of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Project: Maternal metabolites in pregnancy and child growth in India
  • Christopher Kemp, PhD. Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Project: Formative Assessment for Peer-Led Mental Health and TB Services Integration in India
Robert "Bob" Bollinger in the Spotlight
Raj and Kamla Gupta Professor of Infectious Diseases
“My career in India has pivoted multiple times because of need and opportunity.”

One of the consistent elements of Robert Bollinger’s medical career has been his work in India. Bollinger started as a volunteer at the Damien Social Welfare Centre in Dhanbad, India, before he had begun medical school. There, while performing leprosy diagnostics and screenings, he became intrigued with tropical and infectious diseases.

In this spotlight, Dr. Bollinger discusses his passion for capacity building, why his work keeps bringing him back to India, and some of his more memorable achievements.
GKII Webinar Reminder
There’s still time to register for our January Seminar!
Friday, January 20, 2023
9:00 am EST/7:30 pm IST
Dr. Sheela Magge, Chief of Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Lawson Wilkins Endowed Chair of Pediatric Endocrinology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will discuss her NIH-funded research on ancestry-related differences in body composition and the impact on cardiometabolic risk.
Rina Agarwala Promoted to Full Professor

Congratulations to Rina Agarwala, Professor of Sociology at JHU, on her promotion!

Dr. Agarwala publishes and lectures on international development, labor, migration, gender, social movements, and Indian politics. Her latest book, The Migration-Development Regime: How Class Shapes Indian Emigration (Oxford University Press, 2022), examines Indian emigration to the Middle East and the US from the 1800s to the present. 
The Lancet Regional Health - Southeast Asia

Background Summary
The course of the COVID-19 pandemic has been driven by several dynamic behavioral, immunological, and viral factors. We used mathematical modeling to explore how the concurrent reopening of schools, increasing levels of hybrid immunity, and the emergence of the Omicron variant affected the trajectory of the pandemic in India, using Andhra Pradesh (pop: 53 million) as an exemplar Indian state.
The Hub: January 12, 2023

Sara Bennett, a professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health who focuses on health policy and systems in low and middle-income countries, has been appointed as the new faculty co-chair. Melody McCoy, former vice president of global engagement and communications for Jhpiego has been appointed as the institute's inaugural executive director. Both Bennett and McCoy bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to GKII.
JACC: Advances: January 11, 2023

Artificial intelligence is part of our daily lives. How can we address its limitations and guide its use for the benefit of communities worldwide?

In Can We Trust AI?, Dr. Rama Chellappa, a researcher and innovator with 40 years in the field, recounts the evolution of AI, its current uses, and how it will drive industries and shape lives in the future. Leading AI researchers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs contribute their expertise as well on how AI works, what we can expect from it, and how it can be harnessed to make our lives not only safer and more convenient but also more equitable.
Nature: December 22, 2022

“We are far away” from the 2023 goal, says Anita Shet, a paediatric infectious-diseases specialist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, who studies vaccine-preventable diseases in India. “Now, it is a Herculean job to be able to catch up everyone who missed.”
Grant Opportunities from the Gates Foundation and Partners
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has launched two requests for proposals through the Grand Challenges Global Call-to-Action initiative. This new member of the Grand Challenges family of initiatives supports locally led research, including funding this year for five malaria projects and five data science projects. In addition, there are requests for proposals launched by Grand Challenges Africa, by Grand Challenges Senegal, and by Grand Challenges Canada. Only one is still open for applications.

Global Health Field Placements Open
Application Deadline: Feb. 12, 2023
Hopkins-affiliated global health programs have prepared placements for students in their low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) programs. This is a great opportunity for students to gain international experience!

Placements vary in length, with a minimum of 8 weeks. Selected students will be awarded a grant of $3,500 from the CGH to defray travel and subsistence costs.

Awardees will be required to assist at the overseas site for the agreed time period. The placement site will not be required to pay the student or contribute financially, though some sites will choose to do so. The placement site and JHU faculty will be required to provide supervision of the student and offer assistance in locating suitable housing and general advice about living in-country.
Looking for Student Support?
Johns Hopkins faculty who are seeking student support for India-related projects can now submit position descriptions. We will post them online and share in our email updates!