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April 24, 2013

MPH Student Selected for
Hopkins-Pulitzer Fellowship

Varsha RamakrishnanVarsha Ramakrishnan will write news articles about dowry violence against women in India.

Varsha Ramakrishnan will be traveling to India this summer to write about the under-reported issue of dowry violence. She is the inaugural recipient of the 2013 Johns Hopkins-Pulitzer Center Global Health Reporting Fellowship.

The fellowship, which includes up to a $5,000 stipend, is a collaboration of the Bloomberg School and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. It offers public health students the opportunity to work with seasoned journalists at the Pulitzer Center and document important issues in global health.

A physician from India, Ramakrishnan proposed writing about dowry violence after seeing a hospital burns ward in Karnataka that was always full of young brides who had been attacked by their husbands or in-laws. "Although the practice of a bride’s family paying a dowry to the groom has been outlawed in India, the tradition and the violence associated with it persists," Ramakrishnan says. “The immolation of young brides within the first few years of their marriage is a heart-breaking phenomenon that is severely under-reported. It is my intention to illuminate the extent of this problem and increase awareness.”

In June, she will prepare for her trip by working with the Pulitzer Center staff in Washington D.C. and with Dick Thompson, a former health and science correspondent for Time magazine and former communications adviser to the Director-General of the World Health Organization. She will then travel to India for first-hand reporting of the issue and return to Washington to complete her project.

Applications for the 2014 fellowship will be accepted beginning early next year.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.