Dr. Sonal Mehta, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, has received a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to pursue work in the field of geriatric palliative care medicine in Pune, India, where she will collaborate with the Janaseva Foundation. Dr. Mehta’s work in the city of Pune, which is a hub for academic excellence in India, will involve implementing geriatric palliative care education for interdisciplinary providers across various healthcare settings.
In 2011, adults over the age of 60 accounted for 8% of India’s total population; by 2050, it is estimated that statistic will increase to 19%, or 323 million older adults - more than the total population of the United States. In 2010, the government of India launched the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly to improve patient care for older adults within an institutional health care system, thus Dr. Mehta will be arriving to India at an opportune time to make a positive impact on India’s developing healthcare system. She will be meeting with geriatric medical providers to learn more about their health systems across various settings and interacting with physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers.
Through her collaboration with the Janaseva Foundation, which aims to support vulnerable populations in rural and urban settings, she will be educating providers involved in the care of older individuals. The Janaseva Foundation, recognized by the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the Government of India, created a Regional Resource Training Center in 2016 that Dr. Mehta will be collaborating with to address knowledge, skills, and attitudinal gaps in caring for older adults. She will be giving presentations at a variety of institutions on topics of geriatrics while gaining international expertise in the field of palliative care, in particular, the patient care of adults with chronic life-limiting illnesses.
“This work has the potential to transform into a train-the-trainers model,” explains Dr. Mehta. “Ideally, I hope that my work can be a stepping stone for increased recognition for geriatric and palliative care education within the Indian medical education system and ultimately translate to improved clinical care for the growing population of older adults in India."
The WDOM congratulates Dr. Sonal Mehta on receiving a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship.
Note: The Fulbright Commission in India was established in February 1950 under a bilateral agreement. Since that time, over 10,000 American students and scholars have participate in the program. A new era began on July 4, 2008, when the U.S. and India signed an historic new Fulbright agreement, strengthening educational exchanges between India and the U.S. Since that time, the governments of the U.S. and India have implemented the scholarship program as full partners.