20192020

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Personal profile

Biography

Gowri is an MBBS from JIPMER in Pondicherry in India, where she also did a one-year residency in the Department of TB and Chest Diseases. She obtained her MD in Preventive & Social Medicine (aka Community Medicine) from the BJ Medical College, Pune in India. She was an Asst. Lecturer and then Lecturer to undergraduate and post-graduate medical students at BJ Medical College (BJMC), Bharati Medical University and Smt. Kashibai Navale - medical Colleges and teaching hospitals in Pune, India.

She then went on to get an MPH from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA with whom she worked as an independent consultant for 13 years on an Indo-US collaboration - between BJMC Pune and Johns Hopkins and funded by the NIH, USA. She set up from scratch, Hopkins’ large research centre at BJMC Pune, which continues to conduct a number of clinical trials on the prevention and treatment of HIV and its co-morbidities. She built and trained a large team of over a hundred project staff as clinicians, nurses, counsellors, social scientists and data management and lab personnel at the site.

The highlights of her first ever multi-country clinical trial were: i) ensuring informed consent among women, with little or no literacy, who were to be tested for HIV and recruited for the trials. She responded to the challenge by developing visuals, using the photonovella concept, which significantly improved women’s understanding of consent. ii) inclusion of the trial findings in the WHO’s guidelines on infant feeding of HIV-infected mothers.

From coordinator she became the director of the BJMC CTU (Clinical Trial Unit), again funded by the NIH, in collaboration with Hopkins, at BJMC in India. Alongside the trials, several social and qualitative studies were also undertaken in which she became more interested. She subsequently led two important qualitative studies on i) traditional medicines for HIV (funded by the Samueli Institute, USA) and ii) adolescents’ potential participation in microbicide trials funded by the NIMH of NIH, USA. She also obtained an ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) grant for a qualitative study the female condom and the impact of an empowerment program on its use and on infertility.

Her current interests are:

1)     Women’s health:

  • To prevent disrespect and abuse (D&A) of women during childbirth and promote respectful health care. She was awarded the SPARC grant by the Ministry of Human Resources in India in March 2019 to work with JIPMER, a teaching health professionals’ institution in Pondicherry to develop a local curriculum on respectful maternity care (RMC).
  • She is also planning to engage communities in a rights-based approach to respectful care.
  • She is pursuing her interest to make contraception accessible to vulnerable populations in low-middle income countries.

2)     Anti-microbial resistance is another area of her interest. She is in dialogue with Melbourne University and the government of India for joint research on the topic.

 

3)     Community engagement, involvement and participation: Low-middle income countries struggle to reach their diverse populations. Therefore, Dr. Sastry’s research constantly looks for ways to engage, involve and work with communities to achieve their desired health goals.

 

 

Education/Academic qualification

Public Health, MPH, Johns Hopkins University

1 Jun 200030 May 2003

Award Date: 31 May 2003

Preventive and Social Medicine (Community Medicine), MD

1 Jan 199331 Dec 1996

Award Date: 31 Dec 1996

Medicine, MBBS, Jawaharlal Insititute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pucherry

12 Jul 198131 Mar 1987

Award Date: 31 May 1987

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal University

7 Feb 2019 → …

Research area keywords

  • Women's health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Contraception
  • Community Based Health Prevention Programs
  • Community education
  • Antimicrobial resistance

Network

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