Message from the Dean Designate​

Professor (Dr.) Stephen P. Marks

Professor & Dean Designate, Jindal School of Public Health & Human Development (JSPH)
B.A. (Stanford), M.A. (Harvard), Doctor of Laws (Nice)

The Jindal School of Public Health and Human Development (JSPH) is the twelfth school of O. P. Jindal Global University. JSPH has been set up to encourage innovative research and establish world-class public health education in India. Being established in 2020, JSPH begins as the world faces the greatest pandemic in a hundred years, the COVID-19 pandemic. With nearly 250 million cases and almost 5 million deaths worldwide, the future of the pandemic is still uncertain. Remarkable achievements have occurred through innovations in the development and roll-out of vaccines, although it is far from certain that this pandemic will be defeated soon or that even worse ones can be avoided. Effective public health responses and prevention are therefore more urgent than ever.

Unfortunately, what started out as a health crisis spiraled into an economic and socio-political breakdown and a broader humanitarian tragedy. The global economy contracted by 3.5% in 2020 (estimate by the IMF) and the impact of this economic downturn is expected to be long-lasting. It is clear that public health during these times is not only to be driven by frontline medical warriors, but it is also a function of the governance and administration of public health and the effective operationalization of delivery of public health, including effective planning and implementation of quarantine and contact tracing, as well as ensuring a robust supply chain and administration of vaccines. These priorities are all the more critical for a country like India, the world’s largest democracy and ‘the pharmacy of the world,’ with 60% of the population living in rural areas. The special challenge facing India is to make public health innovation and implementation effective, sustainable and scalable.

While COVID-19 is likely to come under a degree of control thanks to vaccinations, it has been a stark reminder of the limitations of our public health governance and infrastructure at multiple levels, including central, state and district. Therefore, the role of public health education has never been more important. To enable such improvement in public health education requires high-quality, world-class academic institutions that provide youth with the required tools to allow them to become thought leaders capable of bringing the desired change. Therefore, at this critical moment in history, O.P. Jindal Global University is embarking on a significant contribution to higher education in India through world-class and interdisciplinary public health education in order to provide graduate students with a degree programme that will open up exciting career paths in public health and human development.

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