Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum
I started my professional research career more than a decade ago, immediately after obtaining a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH, Year 2002) with epidemiology as the major subject from one of the National institutes of importance in India -Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, Kerala, India. In my research career spanning over a decade at the national level, I have developed a focus on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes epidemiology in India. I was involved in several large international and national epidemiological studies and clinical trials such as the ADVANCE study (Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease), STICH trial (Surgical Intervention for Ischemic Heart Failure), UMPIRE (Use of a Multidrug Pill In Reducing cardiovascular Events) trial, Sentinel surveillance Study in Indian industrial population, Quality improvement programs in acute coronary syndrome, and acute coronary syndrome and heart failure registries in India in various capacities. I have also obtained a PhD research degree in medical cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology: 2012) from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow with fellowship support from the 'Wellcome Trust-Public Health Foundation of India-and the UK Universities consortium' (WTP-UKC).
I had keen interest in pursuing a research career in the area of CVD epidemiology even while doing my post graduate training. I was awarded a research fellowship with a seed grant from the Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in the Developing Countries (IC-Health: a partnership of World Health Organization and Global Forum for Health Research) to conduct a research study entitled "Assessment of capacity for control of cardiovascular research in Kerala, India" during the post graduate training period. I joined IC-Health at its scientific secretariat in New Delhi (Centre for Chronic Disease Control) as a senior research fellow in the year 2002 and started working in both epidemiological studies and clinical trials. Later in 2004, I was awarded a travel fellowship to attend the international teaching seminar on cardiovascular disease epidemiology organised by the World Heart Federation. Since then, I was also awarded several other travel fellowships and bursaries to attend exchange programmes in CVD epidemiology and training in genetic epidemiology from institutions such as Bristol University (UK), Newcastle University (UK), the Wellcome Trust and the International Epidemiology Association.
I studied novel predictors of mortality outcomes in hypertensive patients as part of my PhD research and gained expertise in survival models and risk prediction analyses. Immediately after my PhD, I joined Public Health Foundation of India as a research faculty and continued to work in the area of cardiovascular disease epidemiology. My research so far has been aimed at filling the gap in data sources particularly related to cardiovascular health risk behaviours and states, risk and protective factors, and social role transitions by generating comparable data on risk factors of CVD collected using standardized tools at the national level. I have also keen interests in development, implementation and evaluation of complex public health interventions for cardiovascular risk reduction. I was the study director of a worksite based comprehensive cardiovascular risk reduction programme in employees and family members in India. This programme was successful in demonstrating the effectiveness of complex public health intervention for prevention and control of cardiovascular risk factors in Indian settings. Later, this programme has been recognized as a best model to emulate in low and middle income country settings by the World Heart Federation.
I was able to articulate my research findings through various publications and policy briefs. Currently, I have 44 research publications and over 700 citations since 2010 (total citations=832), with an ‘h index’ of 15. I was one of the finalists in the 2014 National Academy of Sciences India young scientist award in medical sciences. I was also awarded with a career development fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and a consortium of UK universities (2014-2015). I will be completing an intensive one year public health leadership programme (PH-Leader) from the Public Health leadership and Implementation Science Academy for non-communicable diseases at Emory University, Atlanata, USA in May 2015.
Presently I am affiliated to the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) as an 'Associate Professor' of chronic disease epidemiology. Throughout my career, I have gained experience and expertise in the design and analyses of observational studies and clinical trials with the supervision and mentorship of eminent academicians and clinicians (for example, Prof. K Srinath Reddy, Prof. D Prabhakaran, Prof. Nikhil Tandon and Prof. Sandosh Padmanabhan). I believe that my research acumen, quantitative analytical skills, public health focus, strong commitment to high ethical and professional standards, and flexibility in devising proactive responses to changing priorities will allow me to make significant contributions to chronic disease research in India. In the next 5-10 years, I would like to establish myself as a research leader in chronic disease epidemiology and an eminent academician at the national level. I trust that the intermediate career fellowship from the Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance will help me to build my career in the next five years and achieve my short-term career objectives.