Director, SEARCH (Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health)
Dr. Abhay Bang grew up in the Sevagram Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. He was inspired by the social ideals, and trained in India (MD) and at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, (MPH). He was a top notcher in the University and won 3 Gold Medals. Along with his wife Dr. Rani Bang, he founded the voluntary organistion, SEARCH, (Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health) 30 years ago in one of the most underdeveloped districts, Gadchiroli, in the state of Maharashtra in India, where they have been working with the people in 150 villages to provide community-based health care and conduct research. They have developed village health care program which has now become a nationally and internationally famous model. It has influenced the health policy in India and globally at least thrice.
Amali Lokugamage works as a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist/Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Whittington Hospital and University College London Medical School, UK. Her undergraduate medical qualifications are from St Andrews (1987) and Manchester (1990) Universities. She obtained an MSc Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2003) and an MD from University College London (2004). Her clinical training was undertaken at London Teaching Hospitals.
Special interests include human rights and compassion in healthcare. She is also a medical educator working in areas that covers medical professionalism, student support and women’s health within University College London. Clinically, she has an interest in normalizing birth and the psychobiology of birth as well as integrative medicine, where conventional obstetrics & gynaecology is merged with complementary medicine.
She has conducted research in the following fields; the use of misoprostol for labour and delivery; international women's health; reproductive & life-course epidemiology and evidence based medicine.
Aparajita Gogoi, PhD International Politics, Postgrad diploma in Journalism
Dr. Aparajita Gogoi is the Executive Director, of Centre for Catalyzing Change (formerly CEDPA India). She is also the National Coordinator of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood/India (WRAI) and a former elected member of the board of the Global WRA. She has over 20 years of extensive experience in program management, with expertise in designing and implementing programs, advocacy campaigns, and defining approaches and strategies for policy issues in population. She is passionate about women’s health issues and has been an advocate for safe motherhood and believes that surviving childbirth is a fundamental right of every woman. She works with networks and other advocates to affect change within society by mobilizing action and people. She holds a PhD (International Politics), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and a Post graduate diploma in Journalism.
She has been accorded recognition for her work in various forums-she was recognized as one of twenty women achievers in healthcare in the March 2009 Modern Magazine. In 2010, at the “Women: Inspiration and Enterprise” Symposium hosted in NYC in September by Sarah Brown, Donna Karen and Arian Huffington, WIE Awards were given to “honor and celebrate a select group of fearless women who are a shining example of excellence to us all.” Dr. Aparajita Gogoi was given the WIE Humanitarian Award for her good work on behalf of humanity that help make our world a better place. On 8th March 2011, Guardian, UK, marked International Women’s Day by selecting 100 of world’s most inspiring women, and Aparajita Gogoi was named as one of these 100 women.
Armida Fernandez, MD Neonatology
Dr. Armida Fernandez is a neonatologist and has spent over three decades working at the LTMG Hospital and College, Sion , Mumbai as Professor of Neonatology and later as the Dean of the institution. Her interests have been developing low cost technologies for neonates in developing countries and the promotion of breastfeeding. She set up the first Human Milk Bank in the country in 1989 . After retirement from the medical college she has started an N.G.O (SNEHA) ‘Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action’ that works on projects of health, nutrition and violence in women and children across the slums of Mumbai and neighbouring cities. At present she is also the Medical Director of Holy Family Hospital in Bandra.
She has received several awards for contribution to Healthcare in the country and is an Ashoka Fellow
Asha Bajpai, PhD Law, specialization on Child Rights
Dr. Asha Bajpai is a Professor of Law at the Center for Socio Legal Studies and Human Rights in the School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance. She is a PhD in Law with specialization on Child Rights. Her PhD thesis was on the ‘Best Interest of the Child in the Indian Legal System’. She has been involved in, teaching, research, training and legislative reform, for more than three decades.
Barbara Harper, a former obstetric, pediatric and neurosurgical nurse, is an internationally recognized expert on waterbirth and childbirth reform. The founder and director of Waterbirth International, she maintains a very active teaching and consulting schedule within hospitals, universities and community groups worldwide. She is also a midwife, doula, childbirth educator as well as a published author and film producer. She was recognized in 2002 by Lamaze International for her contributions in promoting normal birth on an international level. Her book, Gentle Birth Choices and is required reading in many midwifery programs and doula trainings and has been translated into seven languages. Her next book, Embracing the Miracle: How Pregnancy, Birth and the First Hour Influence Human Potential is in process. Barbara has dedicated her life to helping heal the way we welcome babies into the world and to help parents and providers understand the benefits of warm water immersion during labour. The mother of three adult children (two born at home in water), she lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is active in her community as a volunteer, a midwifery and doula mentor and teacher.
Her expertise in waterbirth and gentle, undisturbed birth is widely sought in all areas of the globe. She has lectured in 43 countries, including many medical schools, nursing schools, midwifery programs and university women’s studies departments. Barbara has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers and magazines and has appeared on dozens of radio and TV shows to talk about her work with waterbirth and gentle birth.
Dr. C. N. Purandare serves as a Consultant of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Walkeshwar and BSES Hospital Mumbai; is also Honorary Consultant Obstretrics / Gynaecology to the Mumbai Police. Dr. Purandare serves as the President elect of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). Dr. Purandare served as the President of Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) since 2009 and its Secretary General from 2004 to 2008. He is also an ex Honorary professor- Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Grant Medical College, Mumbai. Dr. Purandare serves as a Member of Advisory Panel at Indian Health Organisation Pvt. Ltd. He was the first to perform Foetal Surgery in India. He serves as a Member of Global Advisory Board and Member of India Editorial Advisory Board of mdCurrent, LLC.
He specialises in Ultrasound in OBGYN and various Ultrasound Guided Invasive Procedures and management of High Risk Pregnancy, including Purandare s Modified Radical Hysterectomy Operation for Carcinoma Cervix. With IHO, Dr. Purandare guides IHO on principles of quality medical practice, certification & empanelment criterion, medical ethics & other medical expertise. In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship (FRCOG honoris causa) of the prestigious Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK, for contribution and excellence in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Women s Health nationally in India and globally. He has received several prestigious awards in recognition of his outstanding contribution in his field of work, some of which includes: Rashtriya Gaurav Award for contribution and excellence in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Smt. Laxmibai Adik Award for Contribution to Medicine; MOGS Dr. Ganatra Award; MOGS Dr. Saroj Desai Award; FOGSI-BEST BOOK of the year Award for three years. Dr. Purandare has a huge array of qualifications to his credit, including a degree from the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland.
Professor Dahlen is a leading midwifery researcher in Australia, with an international reputation as an outstanding midwifery scholar. Hannah is Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University and Director of Higher Degree Research in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Hannah has published over 120 papers and book chapters, presented at over 100 conferences, with more than half being invited keynote addresses. Hannah has a high profile in the media and is sourced as an expert on birth regularly. She has been filmed as part of three documentary films during her career: Microbirth, Face of Birth and Hannah’s Story. Hannah has strong international collaborations. In the past five years she has been a CI on three NHMRC grants and lead CI on an ARC Linkage Grant. She has also been an investigator in two EU COST grants (2009, 2014) and has had 20 other grants. Hannah supervises 12 higher degree and Honours students and was awarded a Vice Chancellors Highly Commended Award in 2015 for Higher Degree Supervision. In November 2012 Hannah was named in the Sydney Morning Herald’s list of 100 “people who change our city for the better” as one of the leading “science and knowledge thinkers” due to her research and public profile. Prior to working in the university sector (1990-2007) Hannah had a mainly clinical role working as clinical midwife specialist, clinical midwifery educator and a midwifery consultant. Hannah remains in clinical practice working in a continuity of care group practice and she was one of the first midwives to gain Eligibility in Australia and has a Medicare provider number and prescribing rights.
Ibu Robin Lim, CPM
Ibu Robin Lim CPM is a Filipino~American midwife and founder of Bumi Sehat a non-profit organization in Indonesia.
Along with amazing team members Ibu (Mother) Robin works for Medical Relief and childbirth clinics in Bali, Aceh (post 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) and Dulag, Philippines (in the aftermath of the super storm Typhoon Haiyan). Ibu Robin’s Passion is Human Rights in Childbirth. Along with Midwife Deborah Flowers she is building a global initiative called “Awakening Birth” soon to be launched.
Jishnu Das is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team) at the World Bank and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. Jishnu’s work focuses on the delivery of basic services, particularly health and education. He has worked on the quality of health care, mental health, information in health and education markets, child learning and test-scores and the determinants of trust. His work has been published in leading economics, health and education journals and widely covered in the media and policy forums. In 2011 he was part of the core team on the World Development Report on Gender and Development. He received the George Bereday Award from the Comparative and International Education Society and the Stockholm Challenge Award for the best ICT project in the public administration category in 2006, and the Research Academy award from the World Bank in 2013. He is currently working on long-term projects on health and education markets in India and Pakistan.
Kerry McBroom, J.D., MA I/II in Human Rights Law, BA in International Human Rights
Kerry McBroom currently works as a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
From 2012 – 2016 Kerry worked as the Director of the Reproductive Rights Unit at Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), New Delhi where she oversaw 200 pending reproductive rights cases in the State High Courts and Supreme Court of India and coordinated fact-finding missions, trainings, and advocacy strategies.
Prior to joining HRLN, Kerry worked as a program manager for the Washington DC based Advocacy Project and the Council of Europe, where she headed a human rights outreach project for Roma women. Kerry has worked on litigation and human rights advocacy in diverse contexts as a law clerk with Cronin Law Firm in Michigan, USA, a legal assistant at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a political organizer in Washington DC, and as a teacher for incarcerated youth in New York.
As part of a dual degree program, Kerry received her J.D. from American University in Washington DC and her Master I/II in Human Rights Law from Université Paris X, Nanterre in 2011. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Human Rights from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Lina Duncan is a Scottish born, American trained midwife who has lived in Asia since 1998, India since 2007. She graduated from Vicky Penwell’s school of midwifery based in El Paso, Texas and completed four years working in slum clinics in midwife-run birthing clinics in Philippine urban slums.
Lina’s passion for midwifery stems from a strong motivation for dignity and respect in perinatal care and MotherBaby friendly practices. She set up a Private Ltd company in India in 2008 and works in collaboration with doctors as there was no midwife model of care, nor a system in which to register or work in autonomous midwifery. Lina provides midwifery services, childbirth education as a Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator LCCE and doula services where “midwifery” was not permitted. Along with her colleagues she serves local Indian, and International families offering homebirth, waterbirth, childbirth classes, Midwife, and doula services. “Mumbai Midwife” pioneered a midwifery model of care in their city and the neighbouring cities of Pune and Nasik, offering current, recognized practices such as skin to skin, upright birth positions, optimal cord clamping, microbiome seeding and striving to bring MotherBaby friendly practices.
M. Prakasamma, PhD Social Medicine and Community Health; MCH, MS, BScN, MA English Lit, Journalism PG Diploma
Dr. Prakasamma has been a teacher, researcher and advocate in public health for the past 31 years. She obtained PhD degree in Social Medicine and Community Health from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She also obtained post graduate degrees in Community Health (MCH), Nursing (M. N. and B.Sc. N), English Literature (MA) and Journalism (PG Diploma). She worked as a Professor in Reproductive Health, Associate Professor in Epidemiology, Assistant Professor in Nursing, and as a Staff Nurse in Chest Diseases Hospital. Prakasamma also worked in the WHO (Bangladesh and at SEARO in New Delhi).
Currently she is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Maha Al Musa is a leading light in the birth world as a spiritual birth visionary and birth activist. She has 20 years experience working with pregnant and birthing women and is the creator and founder ofEmbodyBirth™ – BellydanceBirth® – The Al Musa Method® also described as Mindful Movement To Awaken Birth Wisdom since 1997. Maha was the winner of the 2011 One World National Birth Hero Award, breastfeeding advocate, doula, mother of three and birth consultant for both pregnant women and birth professionals. She offers her inspiring somatic Teacher Training worldwide that honours the language of the feminine. Maha is also an international speaker and passionate about Human Rights in Childbirth. She has presented at numerous birth conferences, events and seminars within Australia and internationally.
In her breastfeeding advocacy Maha has graced the cover of two Australian magazines Woman’s Day Nov 2012 and Take 5 Magazine January 2014 as well as appearing on Sunrise TV Australia, A Current Affair, Mornings Show Australia. She has been interviewed by many online and published magazines as well as appearing in three documentaries in 2015, including Discovery Channel, RTL German TV and Inside Story Australia. She is the author of the award winning world first book “Dance Of The Womb”, endorsed by Dr Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger and Dr Sarah Buckley. She is the producer of the DVD “Dance Of The Womb”, endorsed by NACE (Australia) and the Australian Doula College.
Maha speaks the language of the feminine for birth and beyond. She has boldly stood in the light throughout the world for women and babies to be seen and heard with reverence for this human spiritual rite of passage. Through her birth work she encourages women with their babies to align with the innate birth intelligence that resides within themselves and trust in its guidance.
Neel Shah, MD, MPP
Dr. Neel Shah, MD, MPP is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and associate faculty at the Ariadne Labs for Health Systems Innovation. He is an expert in designing, testing, and spreading system interventions that improve the safety, affordability, and experience of patient care. As an obstetrician-gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Shah cares for patients during critical life moments that range from surgery to primary care to childbirth.
In 2015, Dr. Shah co-authored the book Understanding Value-Based Healthcare (McGraw-Hill), which Don Berwick has called “an instant classic” and Atul Gawande called “a masterful primer for all clinicians.” He is an advisor to Square Roots (a maternal health life sciences company), the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Payal Shah, J.D., Certificate in Comparative and International Law, BA in Political Science and Asian Studies
Payal Shah is the Senior Legal Adviser for Asia at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Her work includes litigation and advocacy in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines around issues of abortion, maternal mortality and morbidity, and access to contraception information and services. She plays a leading role in the South Asia Reproductive Justice and Accountability Initiative that aims to develop further litigation and build legal capacity on reproductive rights throughout the region. She co-authored Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban and was a key contributor to Maternal Mortality in India: Using Constitutional and International Law to Promote Accountability and Reform before co-authoring its update in 2011. More recently, Payal authored Child Marriage in South Asia: International and Constitutional Legal Standards for Promoting Accountability and Change as well as Child Marriage and Personal Laws in South Asia: International Standards Requiring Governments to End Human Rights Abuses Based on Religious Norms.
Payal has presented on the use of international and comparative law in reproductive rights advocacy throughout Asia. She has published on the role of human rights in advocating for government accountability for egregiously high rates of uterine prolapse in Nepal in the Drexel Law Review. Before joining the Center, she was a Litigation Associate at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, where she worked pro bono with the Center in litigating Carey v. Maricopa County, et al., updating Bringing Rights to Bear, and documenting violations of reproductive rights during conflict in Nepal. Payal also assisted with impact litigation on China’s violations of the rights to health and education as well as coerced sterilization and HIV/AIDS issues in India.
She received her J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law, where she was a James Kent and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and was awarded a Certificate in Comparative and International Law. She was co-editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Asian Law, and has published on international women’s rights in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. She received a B.A. with High Honors from Swarthmore College with a dual major in Political Science and Asian Studies as well as a minor in Chinese Language and Literature.
Saraswathi Vedam, RM, FACNM, MSN, Sci D(h.c.)
Saraswathi Vedam is a midwifery professor in the Faculty of Medicine, and Lead Investigator of the Birth Place Lab, at University of British Columbia. She has been a clinician and a health professional educator for 30 years. Her scholarly work includes the national, CIHR-funded Canadian Birth Place Study examining attitudes to place of birth among maternity care providers; and Changing Childbirth in BC, a provincial, community-based participatory study of women’s preferences for maternity care. She has developed clinical screening and quality measures including, MAPi, the Movement and Pulse index for assessment of fetal well-being, the Mothers’s Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale and the MOR (Mothers on Respect) index. Currently, she is leading multi-disciplinary teams in the US Birth Place Mapping Study to describe the status of licensure and integration of midwives in the United States; and the Giving Voice to Mothers Study to explore the unique experiences of families from communities of color, and families who plan home births, across the United States.
Professor Vedam has been active in setting national and international policy on place of birth, and midwifery education and regulation. She has provided expert consultations to policy makers in Mexico, Hungary, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, and India. She was Convener and Chair of 3 national Home Birth Consensus Summits. At these historic summits a multi-stakeholder group of leaders (clinicians, consumers, policymakers, legislators, researchers, ethicists, and administrators) crafted a common agenda to address equitable access to high quality care across birth settings in the United States. In 2010, she chaired the 5 th International Normal Labour and Birth Research conference in Vancouver.
Sohini Chattopadhyay is a journalist, who enjoys long-form reportage, usually 3,000 words and above. She won the 2014 Ramnath Goenka award for feature writing and the 2014 International Red Cross and Press Institute of India prize for humanitarian reporting. She also won certificates for outstanding reporting at the national RedInk journalism prizes for 2015 and 2014. She was a long-time writer and editor with OPEN magazine (www.openthemagazine.com) where she co-edited the culture section in one stint, and commissioned features for all sections of the magazine in another stint. She was awarded a Chevening journalism fellowship for 2015. Her writing has been commissioned by VOGUE (India) and has appeared in ELLE, FountainInk and Outlook Traveller magazines, the webzine Yahoo Originals, the web daily Scroll.in and leading national dailies such as The Times of India, The Telegraph and Business Standard.
She is also a keen cook and food anthropologist.In 2011, she won a fully-paid fellowship to work in a restaurant at Hamburg, Germany, and document her experiences on a blog. She is a perpetual graduate student at heart (for the record, she completed her graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh).
Her hobby is writing about herself in the third person.