Ethics Committee

Ethics Committee

Institutional Ethics Committees (IECs), also known as Institutional Review Boards, are a crucial aspect of modern biomedical research, since they help protect research participants and communities.  PUKAR has been lucky to have recruited a very eminent group of individuals to our IEC from widely varying backgrounds, including clinical medicine, public health, laboratory science, the social sciences, women’s health, education, the law, and bioethics.  Many of these individuals work full-time in marginalized communities, including other slums in Mumbai.

The PUKAR Institutional Ethics Committee follows widely accepted core ethical principles as outlined by major institutions such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The PUKAR IEC is registered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Human Research Protections under IRB registration number IRB00008020 and Federalwide Assurance number FWA00016911.

Dr. Arokiasamy, a professor at the International Institute for Population Sciences, graciously agreed to be the Chairperson of the new IEC.  Ramnath, PUKAR’s Senior Research Fellow, serves as the Member Secretary of the committee and is responsible for convening the committee and maintaining official records.

PUKAR IEC includes representation from the following prominent institutions: the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), the Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action (SNEHA, a prominent Mumbai NGO working in slums), Majlis (a prominent women’s rights NGO), the Foundation for Medical Research, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (India’s premier social science university), University College London, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, and the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics.  The creation of this committee therefore also enhances PUKAR’s ability to create more local collaborations in the future.

Below are some brief biographies of the PUKAR IEC members.  Please note that while Drs. Anita and Ramnath from PUKAR are members of the IEC, they are technically non-voting members and are primarily responsible for convening the committee.

Chairperson of the IEC:

Perianayagam Arokiosamy, Professor in the Department of Development Studies at IIPS

Dr. P. Arokiasamy is a professor in the Department of Development Studies at the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai.  He has a BSc degree in mathematics and MA and PhD degrees in Population Studies.  He has more than 35 high quality research papers published in peer-reviewed international and national journals, three books, and more than 20 printed research reports in the subject areas of population and health.  He has more 20 years of postgraduate teaching experience, including the mentorship of several PhD candidates.

His research experience includes coordinating and conducting three major national research projects, namely, the National Family Health Survey India-3 (2005-2007), the WHO-World Health Survey India (2003-2005), and the Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (2006-2007), funded by the WHO. These surveys are major sources of the evidence base for the monitoring of various health intervention programmes implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.  Dr. Arokiasamy is currently involved in initiating a major nationally representative longitudinal aging study called the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Institute of Aging, USA.

Members of the IEC:

Nayreen Daruwalla, Program Director at SNEHA

Dr. Daruwalla is currently the program director of the initiative for prevention of violence against women and children at the Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action (SNEHA) in Mumbai. SNEHA is an NGO with a long track record of successful health research and interventions in Dharavi and other slum communities in Mumbai. Dr. Daruwalla’s 18 years of experience have been in the area of mental health counseling, crisis intervention, and training. She has a PhD in social psychology.  She has worked extensively in the field of violence against women and children abroad and in India for 12 years. She also has multiple publications in the medical literature elucidating SNEHA’s work with vulnerable women and children.

Nanda Trimukhe, Legal Advocate, Majlis

Nanda Trimukhe is a legal advocate at Majlis who focuses on women’s rights.  Majlis is an innovative organization focused on securing the rights of marginalized women through legal, cultural, and artistic means.

Nerges Mistry, Director, Foundation for Medical Research

Dr. Mistry is the director and trustee of the Foundation for Research in Community Health and the Foundation for Medical Research. An immunologist by training from the University of Mumbai and The University of Birmingham, Dr. Mistry’s work encompasses the immunogenetics and neurobiology of leprosy and the molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis.  She also has experience in the development of community based health care systems and intervention research in the management of drinking water in rural communities.

Dr. Mistry has over 55 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been principal investigator of 12 major projects. She was awarded the Heiser Fellowship from the USA for her postdoctoral research work, which she undertook at the University of Oslo in 1984-1986. Dr. Mistry has held advisory positions in the University of Mumbai and in academic institutes in Mumbai like CRI and BARC. She is a guide for post-graduate degree in Applied Biology from the University of Mumbai and has guided 6 post-graduate research students.

Anjali Monteiro, Professor, Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Dr. Anjali Monteiro has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology. She is involved in documentary production, media teaching and research. Jointly with K.P. Jayasankar, she has made over 25 documentary films. Their work has been screened extensively at film festivals all over the world and they have won sixteen national and international awards.  She was a Fulbright visiting lecturer for 2006-07, attached to the University of California, Berkeley. She is visiting faculty at several media and design institutions in India. She is also actively involved in ‘Vikalp’ and ‘Films for Freedom’, which are collectives of documentary filmmakers campaigning for freedom of expression. Dr. Monteiro has published extensively in the area of media and cultural studies and has contributed to scholarly journals such as Cultural Studies. Much of her work has focused on disadvantaged communities in Mumbai.

 David Osrin, Welcome Trust Career Development Fellow, UCL Center for International Health and Development

Dr. Osrin trained in medicine, paediatrics and tropical medicine in the UK, Australia and Thailand, and joined CIHD in 1997. He is part of a team that tests interventions to improve newborn survival. Having been based in Nepal from 1997-2004, he now divides his time between London and South Asia. His research interests include: low birth weight in developing countries; perinatal and neonatal care and outcomes in poor communities; cause-specific neonatal mortality; nutritional interventions to improve birth weight and neonatal mortality; community mobilisation through participatory interventions; health service interventions to improve the quality and outcomes of maternal and neonatal care; field surveillance systems for pregnancy, neonatal and infant outcomes; and the large-scale evaluation of public health interventions.  He has collaborated extensively on projects with SNEHA over the last few years and currently spends much of his time in Mumbai.

Anita Patil-Deshmukh, Executive Director of PUKAR

Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh brings a wide variety of talents and expertise to PUKAR.  A physician by profession, Anita received her Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and worked as a faculty Neonatologist at a teaching institution in Chicago for 20 years.  During her tenure she was also the Director of the Pediatric Residency program and Director of Continuous Medical Education for the Department of Pediatrics.  She played a major leadership role within India Development Service (IDS) a pioneering organization in United States which supported multiple, small-scale, socioeconomic development projects across India.

Anita’s main research interest in has been to explore the relationship between poverty, social equity, and health.  Since joining PUKAR, Anita has launched three new projects: The Youth Fellowship Project (funded by Sir Ratan Tata Trust, India), Mythologies of Mumbai (funded by the Ford Foundation), and PUKAR’s public health initiative (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation).  She is also the Senior Consultant for the India China Institute (The New School, NY).

Amrita Patwardhan, Development manager, Sir Ratan Tata Trust

Amrita Patwardhan completed her MPhil in Education from University of Delhi in 2000. She worked as a primary school teacher in Pune and as a teacher-educator with Jeevanshalas at the Narmada valley. As an Edberg Award recipient, she spent a year as a visiting fellow in the International Development Department, Clark University, where she investigated the impact of displacement on children. She has been working with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust since 2003, leading the elementary education portfolio.

T.V. Sekher, Associate Professor, Department of Population Policy and Programmes, IIPS

Dr. Sekher is an associate professor with the Department of Population Policy and Programmes at the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai.  Trained in sociology and demography, he has been a visiting fellow at the Wellcome Trust Center for History of Medicine in London and at the Maison de Sciences la Homme in Paris.  He has been involved with diverse research projects and interventions in the past, including the evaluation of health services for the Karnataka government, an assessment of sexual health in Mumbai slums, an inquiry into the implications of disproportionate female feticide, and an assessment of the utility of electronic media for educating panchayat members about health.

He is currently a contributing researcher to the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), a joint project with the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also one of the national coordinators of the District Level Household and Facility Survey, undertaken for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and for the Study on Global Aging and Adult Health, sponsored by the WHO.

 Sandhya Srinivasan, Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics

Sandhya Srinivasan is a freelance journalist and consultant. She holds Master’s degrees in public health and in sociology, and writes on health and development issues for the Inter Press Service, among other publications and Web sites.  She was named Panos Reproductive Health Media Fellow in 1998 for the subject “Infertility and Health Services in India”, and in 2002 she was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship to support her work in medical ethics.

She is executive editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, the journal of the Forum for Medical Ethics Society, where she has focused on developing a platform for discussion between health professionals and other sections of society. She is also on the editorial board of Developing World Bioethics.

 Ramnath Subbaraman, Member Secretary of PUKAR IEC, Senior Research Fellow at PUKAR

Ramnath is a graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine, and he recently completed residency in internal medicine at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).  He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Chicago, where he majored in cultural anthropology.  Ramnath has long had an interest in the intersection of clinical medicine, public health, social change, and human rights.

He previously spent a year performing HIV and tuberculosis related clinical research at the YRG Center for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) in Chennai as a National Institute of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar.  He has more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles in journals, conference proceedings, and textbooks in the fields of HIV and tuberculosis.  He has also spent time working with the Society for Promotion of Area Research Centers (SPARC), a slum development organization, in Mumbai.  He has engaged in short-term clinical work in South Africa and Uganda.  Ramnath recently joined PUKAR in September 2010 as Senior Research Fellow, focusing on PUKAR’s public health work.