India, Chennai – UC Berkeley

Chennai, India

Site Institution
Sri Ramachandra University, Department of Environmental Health Engineering

U.S. Institution
UC Berkeley, School of Public Health

U.S. Mentor

Kirk R. Smith, PhD, MPH
Professor of Environmental Health



Local Mentor

Kalpana Balakrishnan, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor & Head of the Environmental Engineering Cell at Sri Ramachandra Medical College in India



Research Focus
Environmental health and air pollution

Site and Background

This site will emphasize training in environmental health, focused on the impact of indoor air pollution, and cleaner household fuel alternatives on respiratory diseases and other health outcomes. Indian census data indicates the slum population will surge to 109 million by 2017, or around 9% of the total population of 1.28 billion on that year. Most of these homes are likely to use of biomass fuels for household energy, generating levels of household air pollution that have been associated with acute respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and with infant premature deaths as well as contributing substantially to ambient air pollution. The collaboration between the Environmental Health Sciences at Berkeley, headed by Kirk Smith, and the Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Sri Ramachandra University, (SRU) over the past 15 years has produced achievements in academic infrastructure, training, exchange, and research findings. SRU launched in 2010 the first master’s program in public health for occupational and environmental health in South Asia with direct support from a grant of the NIH FIC International Training and Research in Occupational and Environmental Health, which also provided support for SRU faculty and postdoctoral researchers to receive mentorship and training from UC Berkeley. SRU has also become the leader for Indian national and regional assessments of household pollution and health outcomes. It is positioned to provide field experience to U.S. candidates in multiple sites throughout India to be trained in and promote air pollution assessments and public health interventions to improve slum health. This year (2017-2018) SRU will be mentoring one U.S. GHES fellow conducting research on the relationship between penetration of LPG stoves and childhood pneumonia.

Please visit:

GHES fellowships conducted at these sites:
2013-2014 Naveen Puttaswamy, PhD, MSc
2015-2016 Ramnath Subbaraman, MD
2016-2017 Manish Desai, MS, PhD