The CHET Team

Vijay Chandru

Dr. Vijay Chandru

Hon. Director, CHET

Professor Vijay Chandru (PhD MIT) has served on the faculty of engineering at Purdue University and now with interdisciplinary research in digital health at the Indian Institute of Science. An elected fellow of both the Indian academy of sciences and engineering, he is a distinguished alumnus of BITS Pilani and the MIT India program. An inventor of the Simputer, he is a founder of Strand Life Sciences, India’s leading precision medicine solutions company which he led as Executive Chairman from inception in 2000 till retirement in 2018. A technology pioneer of the World Economic Forum since 2006, he served with the IAC of WEF on the future of healthcare from 2014-16.  In his work at the Centre for Health, Education and Technology and OPFORD Foundation, Professor Chandru has been committed to orphan diseases and has recently also launched with scalable platforms towards the vision of “no disease orphan by 2030.”
Namitha Kumar

Dr. Namitha A Kumar

Hon. Research Director

Namitha A Kumar has a PhD in psychology and disability studies from the National Institute of Advanced Studies (2015). Received a post-doc in health policy (rare disease policy for Karnataka state) from the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bengaluru (2016). Worked for healthcare not-for-profit Centre for Health Ecologies and Technology as Research Director from August 2015 to May 2019. As Research Director was involved in policy formulation, policy monitoring, outreach for rare diseases advocacy and the flagship event Blue Ribbon Rare Diseases Symposium (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). Key role in the Open Platform for Rare Diseases (inaugurated at the Blue Ribbon Symposium in March 2018) preparing medical content, patient outreach, care coordination for rare disease communities.

Worked as scientific content writer for Strand life sciences from June 2019 to June 2020. Currently fully engaged with the evolved Open Platform for Orphan Diseases (OPFORD foundation) as Head of Outreach and Communication from July 2020. Continue to engage with CHET as honorary Research Director working for the rare disease space in India.

Uma Chandru

Prof. Uma V Chandru

Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Uma’s multidisciplinary background includes an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics (BSc) with a minor in Education from Women’s Christian College, Chennai, an MEd. from Lesley University in Special Education and an M.S from Purdue University, USA in Environmental Design and all but dissertation towards a doctoral degree in Cultural Anthropology at Purdue University where she was awarded a Doctoral Fellowship.

Teaching experience includes: Design and Anthropology fundamentals at Purdue University, USA. As a faculty member of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, Uma designed curriculum and taught Ethnographic Research, Design Research methods, Art and Design Law, Future of Craft and various other courses and labs for art, film and design students. She has guest lectured at postgraduate design and management institutes in Bangalore.

As a Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH) at Smithsonian Institution (Fall 2007), she researched and reflected upon grounded and democratic policy and practices in the craft sector that empower and enable sustainable livelihoods of indigenous crafts communities in cultural and heritage tourism sites in India, without endangering human rights and community rights to equitable benefits from their tangible and intangible heritage.

Uma co-founded the International Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy (IIACD) and heads the Heritage Arts Initiative (HAI) and Heritage and Youth (HAY) Programme at the Centre for Cultural Heritage and Tourism Studies. She is the Coordinator of the IDH Vijayanagara Murals project (2011-2015). Prior research and advocacy include: a comparative study of dry and wet Karnataka villages, gendered spaces in government housing and vernacular architecture in rural Karnataka, gender dynamics in rural household decision making, safeguarding intangible heritage of craftspeople, problems with geographical indicators in crafts communities, rights of indigenous people, sustainability of potters livelihoods, cultural tourism, cultural democracy, heritage arts, engaging community youth in cultural heritage, autism, rural healthcare.

Ranjana Ramchander

Ranjana Ramchander

Faculty of Arts

Ranjana Ramchander was born in Pune, India, where she spent the first 20 years of her life. She studied Drawing and painting at the Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya and Sir J.J. School of art,Mumbai, India. She has held independent shows at Chitrakala Parishat and Alliance Francaise in Bangalore, Jamnalal Bajaj Art Gallery in Mumbai, and Art Forum in Singapore. She has worked with the French artist, Christian Puard on the ancient technique of Tempura painting, a technique she uses considerably in her new series of paintings.

Along with her husband Late Shri. Ramchander, Ranjana founded the Hemophilia Society Bangalore Chapter in 1992. The society has undertaken awareness programs at all levels and made the first animation film on hemophilia. As the General Secretary (from 2000-2013), Ranjana successfully advocated with the Govt of Karnataka to include Hemophilia in the,”Prevention of Disability Act” and hence provide free factor treatment (which is very expensive) through designated Govt hospitals throughout the state since 2005. She also served as Executive Committee member on the board of Hemophilia Federation, New Delhi and Vice Chairperson of Society for Hemophilia care, New Delhi.

Pervez Imam

Dr. Parvez Imam

Advisor - Community Health

Dr. Parvez Imam worked in Psychiatry at the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), Ranchi and Institute of Human Behavior & Allied Sciences, Delhi. His experiences during this time led him to move towards film-making. He had hoped to spread information about the people suffering with mental illnesses and generate awareness on mental illnesses in India. He began with script writing and working on short films for the science program, The Turning Point.

Later he diversified and worked on a variety of film projects and subjects. Ever since he has produced many films about Disabilities, Mental Health, and other related issues for WHO-SEARO, Public Health Foundation of India, the Leprosy Mission and other organizations.

Dr. Imam is currently based in Switzerland and works as a visual artist and filmmaker.