On Monday, February 24, 2014, the McMaster University Chanchlani Global Health Research Award was presented to Dr. Hans Rosling, the international health professor known for his very animated lectures and who was named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012 by Time magazine. Rosling was born in Sweden and is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and Director of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system. From 1967 to 1974 he studied statistics and medicine at Uppsala University, and in 1972 he studied public health at St John’s Medical College, Bangalore. He became a licenced physician in 1976 and from 1979 to 1981 he served as District Medical Officer in Nacala in northern Mozambique.
Dr. Rosling is a world expert on Global Health and kindly provided his unique perspective on the subject, before receiving the Chanchlani Global Health Research Award, from Vasu and Dr. Jaya Chanchlani and Dr. John Kelton, Dean and Vice President of Health Science at McMaster University.
Last year’s recipient of the award was husband and wife team Dr. Madhukar Pai and Dr. Nikita Pai who received the inaugural crystal award and a monetary prize of $5,000, which was presented in front of an enthusiastic audience of researchers, postdoctoral fellows, graduates and undergraduate medical students. Lectures were also presented on “The Freakonomics of TB control in India” and “Point-of-care tests for HIV: innovation, energy and impact” respectively. The new centre is dedicated to understanding the genetic and environmental causes of common diseases among diverse cultural groups, women and the socially disadvantaged while providing innovative training to the next generation of health researchers.
The centre has been funded by a $1 million donation from Vasu Chanchlani, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and founding member of the Canada India Foundation, and his wife, Jaya, a family physician in Brampton for more than 20 years. The couple has given an additional $250,000 to fund an award for an international scholar in the field.
“This gift of philanthropists Vasu and Jaya Chanchlani provides significant opportunities for McMaster,” said University President Patrick Deane. As health challenges are increasingly understood in a global context, focus on ethnic and local issues promises to bring benefit not only to those specific communities, but to humanity at large.”
Dr. John Kelton, Dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, agreed: “The Chanchlani Research Centre will be the home of some of our best work and our best people: We know the centre will produce meaningful, life-changing results.”
The contemporary new award is a 2-piece crystal sculpture entitled “Global Health” and is made from the purest 45% optical crystal and represents both our understanding of medicine today, along with the journey required in revealing new ground breaking research. As the sculpture turns clarity of vision lines intersect with the polished circle which is engraved with a symbol of the family. On the opposing side of crystal lines intersect with the same polished dimple, and engraved within them is a map of the world creating a natural symmetry. A custom-made black walnut base is engraved with the dedication of the winning recipient. As the sculpture is viewed from different angles these images appear and disappear, testament to the hard work and effort in discovering tomorrow’s future medicine.
Vasu Chanchlani commented that the goal of the centre is to “leverage the resources, passion and influence of people of South Asian origin by engaging them in a serious social cause that is afflicting people of South Asian origin around the world.”
The Chanchlani Family have supported many worthwhile causes in Canada and India, and this award and initiative will provide the platform for many new discoveries to be possible. I am very proud to have been asked to create this new award for McMaster University and the Chanchlani Family.
Director of the new centre is McMaster professor and research scientist Dr. Sonia Anand, a Canadian leader in the research of genetic and environmental causes of vascular disease, also commented “The Chanchlani gift will enable a group of innovative researchers with talent that ranges from genetics to social determinants to understand the causes and consequences of common diseases that afflict diverse ethnic populations, women, and the socially disadvantaged.”