Stanford Center for health and development

mumbai, india

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Stanford Center for Health and Development (SCHD) in Mumbai, India! The Center represents a unique collaboration between Stanford University's School of Medicine, Tata Trusts and Wadhwani AI.


Our mission is to radically improve the health and economic well-being of ALL Indians by:

    • Research: Spurring novel transdisciplinary research that leads to actionable insights
    • Training: Educating the next generation of health, development, and data science scholars and leaders at Stanford and in India
    • Impact: Connecting research to policy and practice. Aligning with Stanford’s aspiration to become a more purposeful, global University, our efforts will extend beyond the generation of knowledge. We will work closely with key policy-makers to translate knowledge into action.

our approach

Fostering trandisciplinary research

Health and development issues are complex. To develop effective solutions, we must understand the different combinations of causal conditions that influence challenging problems such as stunting, child mortality, infectious disease, (e.g. malaria, and TB) and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). To encourage transdisciplinary research, the Center will:

    • Act as a “hub.” In India we are collaborating with a diverse swath of NGOs, government organizations, academic institutions, and companies (e.g., Gates Foundation, Google, ITT Bombay, NITI Aayog, PATH, WISH Foundation). At Stanford, there is already a vibrant network of scholars representing different schools and departments who are conducting cutting-edge health and development research. The Center will facilitate an ongoing exchange of ideas and insights between Stanford and India (e.g., hosting events and activities that connect people with diverse perspectives, offering seed awards that incentivize transdisciplinary research)
    • Host faculty and PhD students from across the university at our center in Mumbai, providing space, on-the-ground logistical support, and, in some cases, research support (e.g., connecting scholars with local research organizations, helping to hire research staff).

Leveraging data science innovations

India is faced with data-related challenges that are crippling its health and development efforts. Important existing datasets have often not been digitized, curated, or harmonized. Even when these essential steps have been completed, data are often not discoverable, accessible, or of sufficient quality to be of practical use for informing policy and/or practice. The Center for Population Health Sciences (PHS), harnessing the latest computational and methodological advances, has created a data platform that addresses many of these challenges.

We plan to replicate this model in India, building an innovative data hub that will provide a comprehensive suite of data and research services (e.g., hosting, vending, curating, and harmonizing datasets, analytic support) to Stanford researchers and Indian-based NGOs, government, corporate, and academic entities. We will also offer a variety of workshops and courses designed to build data science and research capacity (e.g., a data science leadership program, team science workshops, etc.). Over time, our data efforts will facilitate a shift toward precision health and development, enabling us to provide the right intervention, at the right time, to the right sub-population.

Developing affordable/appropriate products & services

One of the Center’s longer-term aspirations, drawing on Stanford and India’s technological strengths, is to create a lab focused on developing and implementing affordable products and services that can accelerate health and development efforts in India.

Still from the public service video “A Sore Throat Can Hurt Your Child’s Heart.” This video, depicting early symptoms of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and its serious consequences will begin screening in parts of India in 2018. Curtesy of Stanford Biodesign. Learn more about the project here.