Philanthropy could transform IISc Bangalore into a health care hub

40-Ajit-Isaac Ajit Isaac, founder and chairman, Quess Corp.

IISC BANGALORE HAS entered into an MoU with Ajit Isaac, founder and chairman, Quess Corp, and his wife Sarah Isaac, to establish a centre for public health. The couple has committed Rs105 crore towards the centre, which will be called the Isaac Centre for Public Health and will be a part of the upcoming IISc Medical School. The centre is expected to be operational by 2024 and is aimed at encouraging aspirants to pursue careers in clinical research to develop new treatments and health care solutions.

The centre will be located in the medical school’s academic and research block and span one floor spread over 27,000sqft. It is expected to create postgraduate education and research programmes in public health and will offer dual-degree programmes such as master of public health plus doctorate (MPH-PhD), which would be five-six years. The centre will also host high-end biomedical research computing infrastructure to host the data, and develop and test big data analysis methods tailored for public health.

IISc director Govindan Rangarajan said there was an acute need for India to have a centre for clinical and academic research in public health to be able to make quicker and more impactful strides in realising the goal of quality health care for all. “The proposed centre will be an interface between all the departments of the IISc Medical School, and also other science and engineering departments of IISc in the context of public health research,” he said. “In particular, the centre will create a niche for health data science and analytics through collaboration with the existing computer science and data science departments at IISc, putting it on par with international counterparts like the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.”

Isaac said the humanitarian crisis created by the pandemic will take several years to recover from and has exposed the lacuna in public health systems. “This needs to be addressed systematically and consistently,” he said. “A strong nation is not only built on education and employment, but good, sound public health. And the onus of building a healthy future cannot lie on the government alone.”