Drs. Abhay and Rani Bang are the first recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They are also being inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. The Bangs are being honored for their pioneering leadership in community-based health care that is now helping to save the lives of millions of the most vulnerable newborns and children.
During their careers, the Bangs have helped foster a renaissance in community-based primary health care. Thanks in part to their efforts, community-based primary health care is now entering into the mainstream of global health and is now considered essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals for health.
After receiving their MPH degrees from the Bloomberg School in 1984, the Bangs founded the Society for Education, Action and Research on Community Health (SEARCH), an organization working in the remote and tribal district of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra State, India. SEARCH established a partnership with communities in Gadchiroli for health and development and helped create “tribal-friendly” clinics and a hospital in the district.
The Bangs and their colleagues at SEARCH conducted world-class research on practical approaches to reduce mortality of young children in resource-constrained settings. Two of the most notable of these studies demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of community-based management of childhood pneumonia and the provision of home-based neonatal care by community health workers.
The home-based neonatal care interventions developed at SEARCH ignited worldwide interest and research on preventing neonatal deaths in high-mortality, resource-constrained settings. Prior to that, such deaths were considered nearly impossible to avert. As a result of their work, home-based neonatal care and community-based management of childhood pneumonia are now being implemented throughout the world in these settings.
Over the years the Bangs have received numerous awards and honors. In 2005, Time magazine named them Global Health Heroes. And in 2006 they received the MacArthur Foundation International Award for creative social work. The Department of International Health will hold a symposium on maternal and newborn health in their honor on April 10, and on April 11 the Bangs will be inducted into the Society of Scholars in a ceremony on the Homewood Campus.
<<More information on the symposium>>