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Designing Solutions for Maternal and Infant Health

Vishwajeet Kumar


Dr. Vishwajeet Kumar
Community Empowerment Lab

Dr. Kumar is a physician from India with advanced public health training from the Johns Hopkins University where he subsequently served on its faculty and began his early work on community based solutions for advancing the survival and well being of mothers, newborns and children in resource constrained settings of rural India. Dr. Kumar has remained embedded within rural communities for more than a decade in his quest to better his understanding of behaviour, culture and its interaction with innovation, science and social impact. His earliest work on the potential of behaviour change management demonstrated a 54% reduction in neonatal mortality and played a pivotal role in informing the global strategy for newborn survival. Dr. Kumar has authored the “Behavior Change Management” model to guide the design of programs to achieve accelerated behavior change and targeted epidemiological impact. His most recent work has been on “Enculturating Science” within traditional communities through “Community-centric Design”.

Dr. Kumar along with his wife Aarti Kumar founded the Community Empowerment Lab - a community embedded global co-laboratory and collaborative in rural Uttar Pradesh, the ground zero of global health challenges. This collaborative includes 3500 villages, a multi-disciplinary team, global partnerships and multiple behavioural research projects. This collaboratory has provided the opportunity to take the lab to the land, global and local conversations to converge, diverse ideas to meet and mate and co-create solutions at the confluence of science and local wisdom - that are just and lasting.

Dr. Kumar is leading a very large study of 45,000 newborns to study the impact on newborn survival of a behavior change management intervention on improved newborn skin care practices in rural India. He is also leading efforts to integrate behavior change management approaches within 250,000 women self-help groups for newborn health and survival and continues to understand its impact at scale. Dr. Kumar along with Dr. Atul Gawande are currently studying the integration and impact of a safe birthing checklist as a behavior change management intervention for reducing harm to newborns and mothers in over 100 Primary Health Centres in India. Dr. Kumar will also be leading the design of integrating Kangaroo Mother Care behavior within the health system and develop the model for scale-up within India. Dr. Kumar is a recipient of several Grand Challenges Award, has published widely, sits on several global and national advisory boards including Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, passionate about mentoring future global health leaders and also a featured TEDx speaker.

2016 Scientific Advisory Board: 
2016 Topics: 
Thriving in a Changing Environment