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Director, Centre for Environment and Health
Trained as a physician in Bangalore Medical College, Poornima has a Master’s in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Social Medicine from the University of Bristol, UK. After a few years in clinical practice, a short stint at the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division and the Population Health Research Institute at the McMaster University in Canada piqued her interest in epidemiology and public health leading her to acquire training in the UK in these disciplines under reputed mentors. Her earlier work in the New Delhi Birth Cohort and the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study (APCAPS) involved studies on the role of early life growth and development on later life cardiometabolic and other chronic disease outcomes, in addition to intergenerational influences on cognitive function and chronic disease risk in the offspring cohorts.
Since 2015, Poornima moved her focus to the study of environmental health risk factors recognising that this was missing in children’s’ health research in India. She was instrumental in sensitising the fraternity of birth cohort researchers in India through training and capacity building for environmental health. She is currently Additional Professor, Head, Environmental Health and Deputy Director of the Centre for Environmental Health at the Public Health Foundation of India where she leads a team of nearly 20 researchers and consultants on research, training, advocacy, capacity building and remediation for environmental health issues spanning air pollution, climate change, water, sanitation and hygiene, chemical and heavy metal exposures and children’s environmental health. Additionally, she is a Consultant at the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi where she continues research in lifecourse approach to chronic disease. She also leads work in engaging health sector leadership for environmental issues across India. Poornima heads the Centre of Excellence for green and climate resilient healthcare facilities at PHFI, affiliated to the National Program for Climate Change and Human Health, MOHFW, Government of India. She works closely with UN organisations including WHO, UNEP , UNDP /and UNICEF on various projects. She currently is Chair of the Research sub-group within the CSO working group on Climate Change and Health, co-chaired by the WHO and Global Climate and Health Alliance(GCHA). She is a member of the Board of Directors of GCHA and a member of the inaugural Steering group of the Health and Climate Network hosted by the Wellcome Trust.
Chair -Research sub-group: Civil society organisation working group on climate change and human health, co-chaired by WHO and Global Climate and Health Alliance
Member, Board of Directors, Global Climate and Health Alliance
Research Summary and Interests
Poornima has a core interest in chronic disease epidemiology and environmental health. She has conducted studies in birth cohorts in New Delhi and Andhra Pradesh that assessed the role of early life growth, development and socio-environmental determinants on adult disease risk. Her interest in lifecourse epidemiology motivated her to conduct an intergenerational study in the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study(APCAPS) assessing parental influences on offspring disease risk accounting for physical, biological and socio-environmental determinants. Her current role encompasses research, training, advocacy and technical consultations on environmental issues spanning air pollution, climate change, water, sanitation and hygiene, chemical and heavy metal exposures and health impact assessment studies. She currently leads large epidemiological studies on air pollution, climate change and health effects of organic farming .
Areas of Expertise
Other Areas of Expertise
- Resource Mobilization
- Research/Grants Administration
- Technical Advisor
- Project/Programme Management/Implementation
- External Communication