PhD Student, Population, Family and Reproductive Health
As a program director with HealthRight International, Vandana Tripathi worked tirelessly to launch an AIDS treatment program in the West Pokot District in rural Kenya. A year later, she returned to West Pokot to find a busy clinic full of not only mothers and children at the very start of their antiretroviral treatment, but also those who had become robust again. She noticed the beautiful murals painted by community members and the saplings that had become tall young trees.
“I was so proud to have been a small part of something that was bearing tangible, lifesaving benefits for this community, and that was growing into its surroundings, making and keeping a promise that people would no longer have to leave their home district to get HIV/AIDS care,” Tripathi says.
She has worked in public health and human rights for more than ten years. It was the topic of maternal mortality, what she calls the ultimate intersection of human rights and health, which originally attracted her to the field. “No one should die giving life,” she says, “and certainly not from preventable causes.”
In her career, Tripathi wants to conduct and apply research to answer questions about reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, and on methods for scaling up effective interventions to promote maternal survival.
“I also want to engage in the strategic work necessary to put maternal health front and center in global health initiatives,” she says. “In terms of impact, I’d like to be involved in work that cuts down the number of preventable maternal deaths, but also to help more people understand that saving mothers’ lives is probably the most effective thing we can do to promote community and family health.”