TitleBuilding Indian Biomedical Leadership to Bridge the Gap Between Science, Primary Health Care and Public Health
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsKrishna S, Prasad R
Date Published09/2023

The Indian biomedical landscape has been characterized by the existence of somewhat polarized institutional structures and professional growth. While some scientific and public health challenges have been met with existing structures, there is still a large unmet scientific and public health need. Broadly, the physical separation of science, engineering, medical campuses and industry has led to silos of excellence and accomplishment with huge gaps in innovation and implementation. The lack of inter-disciplinary educational options has further reinforced the cultural underpinning of "guilds" that have found it difficult to collaborate. Strikingly, with almost a comparable number of institutions that train doctors in the allopathic or traditional disciplines such as Ayurveda, Unani etc., an "integrative medicine" framework has not emerged, apart from an over reliance on specialization at the expense of primary care. This paper is written by two physician-scientists, the first is located in a basic life science research center. The second, a practicing family physician, from the institutional anchor of a life sciences research institution. In this, we trace our experiences, primarily from a principal investigator's perspective, describing the scientific projects and try to explore the lessons learnt along the way. We will first describe the research in the lab's core area of human cervical cancer progression and our more recent effort with Dengue genomics and vaccine design. We then describe the lab's engagement with medical campuses and other agencies as well as review our various meetings and interactions so far with our colleagues from Africa to grasp what might be the "generalizable lessons" for the future. The Indian council of medical research initiated a program with Africa in health sciences. Building upon those interactions, we have taken some incremental steps in that direction and described our efforts.