When George Chow, an M.F.A candidate in design research and development at Ohio State, read that an estimated 4.5 million children under the age of 5 had died worldwide over the last three years as a result of waterborne diseases, he became determined to somehow improve the lives of those in need.
According to the World Health Organization, this issue is compounded by the fact that 1 billion people worldwide defecate in the open, and as Chow learned, 579 million of those people are in India. Not only does this affect water supply and health, there is economic impact as well. Inadequate sanitation in India amounts to $53.8 billion a year in health care costs, productivity loss and even premature deaths.
The Ohio State University is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to serve as the lead administrator of the national Passport to India initiative, which seeks to increase the number and diversity of American college and university students studying abroad and interning in India by 2020. The program was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 to create a hub for U.S.-India higher education partnerships and to develop a stronger bond between the youth of both countries by increasing American student mobility.
Ohio State will host its first Health Sciences Innovation Conference in Mumbai, India on January 15 – 18, 2015. Nobel Laureate Professor Luc Montagnier, discoverer of HIV, will present a keynote lecture.
The focus of the conference will be India’s rapidly growing biotech and health sciences industry with the goal of developing strategic partnerships between Ohio State faculty and other Indian academic institutions. The All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country’s top public health care and research institution, will partner with Ohio State in hosting this conference. As part of this partnership, a two-day workshop on Regenerative Medicine will be hosted by AIIMS at New Delhi on January 12-13, 2015.
Chandan Sen, professor and associate dean in the College of Medicine, is chair of the organizing committee and William Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs, is serving as co-chair. The Ohio State India Gateway will provide support for the conference in-country.