International Women's Day: Dr Shweta Jindal4 March 2021 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine https://lshtm.ac.uk/themes/custom/lshtm/images/lshtm-logo-black.png
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, throughout March we are asking some of our alumni to tell us more about themselves and their roles, as well as what the day means to them and how female role models have shaped their lives.
Dr Shweta Jindal (MSc Public Health for Development, 2018) works as a Chief Manager for Grants, Proposals and Strategic Solutions. She was previously profiled in July 2020 for the incredible work she had been doing to help vulnerable families through the COVID-19 lockdown in India. Here she shares her typical day, her proudest career moment and her female inspirations.
What is your role, and what does it involve?
I currently support the clinical domain at Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute, a not-for-profit working towards transforming India’s public health sector. My role involves strengthening the process of grants and proposal writing and providing inputs for strategic solutions for the most prevalent challenges across India.
Where are you based?
I am currently based in India, in the city of Pune. Pune is also known as Oxford of the East!
How long have you worked there (and what was your previous job)?
I have been in my current role for three months now. Previously, I worked as an independent consultant with different organisations and academic institutions as a consultant and visiting faculty before that. I also volunteered as a health care provider with a local NGO to provide health promotion and awareness on COVID-19 and primary healthcare services to the underprivileged populations worst hit by the pandemic and the lockdowns.
What is a typical day for you?
A typical day involves coordinating with multiple team members on potential and active grant-seeking opportunities, conducting reviews of proposals in progress and providing technical inputs. I also support ongoing research projects in their design, ethical review, interpretation of results and dissemination. I also help the talent acquisition team in building the strength of our team.
Tell us about a project you are currently working on?
I am supporting two major proposals, which aim to transform the health system across different states and ecosystems in India.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
Technical, leadership and innovation.
What is your favourite thing about working there?
My favourite part about my work is identifying different challenges across different landscapes of the health system and coming up with potential solutions using a creative approach for them.
Can you tell us the most unusual thing you've done at the organisation?
One of the most unusual things in my role has been collaborating with field workers and communities in the Nutri-gardens to discuss recipes which are nutritionally dense and address nutritional needs, whilst being culturally appropriate, affordable and promote self-reliance.
What is your proudest career achievement?
The proudest moment during my career was being able to revive an infant who was brought lifeless to the Emergency Department of a hospital in Delhi, where I was working as a Registrar in Paediatrics. Not only was I successfully able to resuscitate the infant successfully, but I also identified the root cause for his sudden aspiration and referred him for surgical correction. He was treated for a fortnight and went home having recovered. Six months later, he was brought to the outpatient’s clinic and I was hardly able to recognise the now chubby and healthy kid whom I had seen in a very different state!
Non work-related questions:
Where are you from?
I am from the National Capital Region of India, which is in the northern plains. It has a very tropical climate.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day comes as a reminder of the ongoing struggles to overcome the gender disparity across the globe, races, cultures and socioeconomic strata. It gives me an opportunity to remind myself and those around me that the fight for equity for women across the world is far from over yet.
Who is your biggest female inspiration?
My biggest female inspiration is every woman who has overcome and continues to fight the odds in the form of abusive husbands/families, a lack of resources, hostile environments and yet strive to create a better future for herself and her children.
Are there any influential women role models in your life?
I see my mother and sister as my role models, as they are both independent, strong, motivated and fierce women who believe in making life better for themselves and those around them through committed efforts.
What woman is making history today?
Although there are several women around the world creating history in their own ways, I think Kamala Harris has definitely paved the way for millions of women who are in a system where they are constantly reminded of their difference from the norm or made to feel like they do not belong, and yet succeed in building an empire from the stones hurled at them.
“When I’m not working, I am…”
Spending quality time with my loved ones, cooking a hearty and nutritious meal for myself and my family, reading a good book, travelling to a new place and soaking up its culture and sights.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a scientist when I was growing up. I wanted to make the world a better place with my inventions and discoveries. I preferred life sciences to mathematics, and this somehow led me into medicine. Over the years, I fell in love with the clinical aspect of medicine - diagnosing conditions and managing them, all while staying in touch with my humanitarian side by saving lives.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Compassionate, resilient and headstrong.
What is your favourite book?
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession would be my childhood photographs, which always keeps my heart connected to my roots and takes me back to the good old days in moments when it’s needed the most.
What is your favourite place?
A tiny beach on the Konkan coastline called Kaup beach is a favourite of mine. It has a peaceful and serene atmosphere, a lighthouse that acts as a beacon of light, and lovely people in the neighbourhood who host their guests with warmth in their hearts and great food on their platters.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
It often surprises people to know about my fun-loving and adventurous side, which includes riding a motorbike across the treacherous terrain of Spiti Valley in the Himalayas in India.
Any other comments?
Recently, I have also signed up to volunteer with Breakthrough and Feminism in India, two organisations working for women’s and children’s rights in India.
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