Vishnupriya (Priya) Kareddy, a senior pursuing dual degrees in biological sciences with a specialization in physiology and neurobiology and government and politics, has been awarded a 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant for research in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India.
“The Fulbright grant gives me the opportunity to explore my two main academic interests, political theory and medicine and health care, in context of one another and in an immersive manner,” says Kareddy. “I will be talking to villagers, local leaders, and physicians and spending the majority of my time—about six months—in four different rural areas in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. I am very excited about the chance to appreciate the idiosyncrasies in their cultures, politics and histories.”
While based in Hyderabad, India, Kareddy will study efforts to decentralize rural public health care under the National Rural Health Mission. Launched in 2005, the program’s goal is to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, particularly vulnerable groups. With the guidance of Prasanta Mahapatra of the Institute of Health Systems in India and Venkatesu Ediga of the University of Hyderabad, Kareddy will focus on citizen participation and accountability.
“The National Rural Health Mission gave local village leaders more responsibility for public health care,” says Kareddy. “Have their decisions reflected the needs of vulnerable groups? Are these groups able to hold local leaders accountable? Answering these questions is key to understanding how much progress India has made in reducing rural health inequities.”
While in India, Kareddy also intends to volunteer in her spare time to help patients in Hyderabad afflicted with leprosy and the doctors who care for them. After returning to the U.S., she plans to pursue a joint M.D.-Ph.D. and hopes to conduct research on the intersection of health and democratic ethics in multicultural societies.
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Writer: Mary Kearney
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