About The Project

To gather robust evidence that could be used for effective policy action, Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies embarked in 2014 on the “Closing the Gap” research initiative, a four year project supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada. The overall objective of the initiative is to
“contribute to the advancement of a sound, actionable and measurable evidence- base on inequities in health in India with a view to influencing government and civil society initiatives to prioritize the reduction of health inequities”.

This project will synthesise current knowledge, create new knowledge, and transfer and translate knowledge to influence policy towards reduction in health inequities in India. 

Who We Are

“Closing the gap” is an initiative of the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies (AMCHSS), SCTIMST, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
The Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies (AMCHSS) is the Health Sciences centre of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST).

Project Team

  • Dr. Sundari Ravindran TK, Principal Investigator and Professor.
  • Dr. Raman Kutty, Co- Principal Investigator and Professor.
  • Dr. Mala Ramanathan, Professor.
  • Dr. Biju Soman, Additional Professor.
  • Dr. Manju R. Nair, Scientist ‘C’.
  • Dr. Ravi Prasad Varma, Associate Professor
  • Ms. V.T. Jissa, Scientist ‘B’.

Steering Group

  • Dr. Abhay Shukla, Public health researcher and health advocate.
  • Dr. Aditi Iyer, Public health researcher.
  • Dr. Bonth V Babu, Head, Health Systems Research Section and Deputy Director General, ICMR, Delhi.
  • Dr. Girija Vaidhyanathan IAS, Addnl Chief Secretary and Commissioner, Land Administration Department (former Health Secretary), Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • Dr. Jagadeesan, Department of Health Services, Government of Kerala.
  • Dr. Joe Varghese, Senior Researcher, Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi.
  • Dr. Rama V Baru, Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
  • Dr. Rakhal Gaitonde, Senior Scientist,IIT Chennai.
  • Shri Manoj Jhalani , Joint Secretary, National Health Mission, 242-A, Nirman Bhawan, Maulana Azad Marg, New Delhi
  • Ms. T.K. Rajalakshmi, Deputy Editor, FRONTLINE, PTI Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi, 110001

Current Updates

Project objectives

  • Evolving, through a consultative process, a country-relevant multi-disciplinary research agenda on health inequities
  • Supporting and promoting research on identified priorities for health inequities in India to expand the breadth and depth of the evidence - base on health inequities in India
  • Nurturing research capacity in health equity research among young researchers across sectors and disciplines 
  • Engaging in knowledge translation activities throughout the project cycle to increase visibility to health equity concerns among key constituencies such as health equity researchers, policy makers, civil society actors engaged in advocacy for health and for social justice
  • In order to achieve (i) to (iv), working in partnership with and forging a community of health equity researchers as well as practitioners across academic disciplines and across academia, policy makers and civil society actors
  • Enhancing the capacity of Achuta Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology as a centre with expertise on cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research on health inequities in India.

Project Activities - Glimpses

  • Two of our fellows (Mr.Bevin Vinay Kumar (PhD Fellow, AMCHSS) and Ms.Sunu C Thomas (PhD Fellow, AMCHSS) presented posters at Sixth National Bioethics Conference 2017 between January 13th and 15th at Pune. The main theme of the conference was Healing and dying with dignity: ethical issues in palliative care, end of life care and euthanasia. However, oral presentations of papers, posters, workshops and symposia will be open to topics from within the broader discipline of bioethics, including the conference sub themes. 

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  • Some of the reports regarding the activities under the project during the past two years have been showcased here:

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  • Three year fellowships for doctoral research were granted for two students in 2015.

    1. Sunu.C.Thomas is working on identifying the inequities in the resolution of infertility by exploring the various pathways that the infertile couples resort to to resolve infertility

    2. Sabu.K.U is working on the issue of undernutrition among the tribal children of Wayanad district of Kerala

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  • We have supported student research in the form of field grants to students pursuing Master of Public Health (MPH) at AMCHSS. Four students have received fled grants so far:

    1. Dr.Vikram K Sahane (2015)- Health care seeking behavior for stroke in rural Gadchiroli, Maharashtra: an exploratory study using qualitative methods

    2. Sumitha T S (2015) - Individual and social-environmental level protective factors for institutionalized adolescents' mental health: a study among adolescents in childrens' homes under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Kerala.

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  • We have organized two capacity building workshops focusing on concepts and methods to be used in cutting edge research in health inequities.

    1. Pre-conference workshop (as part of EPHP, 2016) on "Cutting Edge Research in Health Inequities: Concepts & Methods" held on 7th July, 2016 at Bengaluru

    2. Second Methodology Workshop on "Cutting Edge Research in Health Inequities: Concepts & Methods" between 12th -16th December, 2016 at Bengaluru

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  • We have three collaborative research projects across India dealing with inequities in tribal health under the Closing the gap: health equity research initiative in India. These include:

    1. Health inequities in a conflict area: an indepth qualitative study in Assam - Jennifer Liang (Research Advisor, The ANT, Assam)

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