During this trip, they met with India’s Health Secretary, senior executives from Johnson & Johnson, Tata Memorial Hospital, Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Hetero Pharmaceuticals, and Sai Life Hyderbad. The trip was an opportunity to explore a different culture and a different approach to healthcare. Follow the students’ journey as they share their perspectives.
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christine vetter '15
I feel very lucky to have had this chance to see India from another perspective. One of the things that struck me was the paradox of so many people needing care resources, but so few physicians and nurses available to provide that care. Even though the government is addressing the problem by opening more medical training facilities, it will take time to build up the numbers. It amazes me that physicians and nurses remain steadfast in their professions, even in the face of such severe shortages. One cannot help but admire and perhaps envy that kind of dedication!
Beth DeStephens ‘14:
I was struck by the social mission of Cipla, a public pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai. Senior leadership’s mission was clear: to make critical, lifesaving drugs accessible and affordable for patients in developing countries. The company’s long history of making India self-sufficient in healthcare through drug development and manufacturing processes that are cost effective, safe and environmentally sustainable is impressive. I felt their most remarkable accomplishment was the pioneering of HIV treatment, ARVs that are now available at less than a ‘Dollar a Day’ which has saved millions of lives around the world. Cipla both aids in the betterment of India’s population health, and the development of the local workforce for the future of technological and innovative drugs to meet the needs of all patients.
Anees Chagpar ‘14
They call it “Incredible India”….the adjective choice was clearly deliberate. I was struck by the amazing contrasts that exist there – the juxtaposition of extreme wealth and extreme poverty; of ancient historical architecture and sleek innovative technology. There, a capitalist mindset is merged with a socialist heart. As we visited hospitals, pharma, and biotech industries, I was in awe of how much could be done with so little; how truly, invention is driven off the back of necessity...
Joe Ianelli ‘15:
This was a trip of a lifetime. Our classmates were our hosts as they were born in India and were able to show us the diversity, innovation, and vibrancy of both the culture and the healthcare system. I came away impressed with how groups leverage technology to help solve big and complex problems and gain efficiencies. The trip helped me understand the world and myself differently, and I was so honored to be part of a very special experience.
Wendy Davis ‘14:
It will take time for me to digest the incredibly rich details of our time in India. However, I now appreciate the detail, color, chaos, noise, volume and diversity (17 religions that infuse the fabric of the country) brought together by the influence of Gandhi embracing diversity. I won’t soon forget the gigantic dark eyes of the six month old recovering from cardiac surgery that cost a mere $800 due to the intense dedication to bring down medical costs. Nor the large multinational manufacturing plants located hours from the city in the countryside where villagers would walk for work. All of our hosts were very gracious with time “for interactions,” candid, open discussions of their unique challenges, and what we can learn from them. And everywhere the friendly side-to-side nod of the head indicating ‘I hear you.’
Srini Alagarsamy ‘15:
Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Our recent trip to India allowed us to see many living examples of Gandhi's philosophy! It was just amazing to see the passion and the service motive engrained into the corporate DNA of the many organizations we visited. From executives at one company saying, “no matter how far or expensive to get to, our drugs make it to every corner of the nation,” to another where making discrete technology and tools work together to ensure things get done faster and efficiently was important. Such selfless commitment is hard to see or match in today’s world. It also probably is the only way to serve the needs of 1.2 billion people.