Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
Tell us a bit about your role
I am a mixed methods researcher with a PhD in public health. I work on health and illness research and am particularly interested how different intersecting social factors affect people’s health. I came to Oxford from India on a scholarship in 1998 for a second BA in Human Sciences. I was meant to stay for just 3 years, but for various reasons, I’m still here!
The Medical Sciences Division produces some of the world’s most important and exciting research and it is a privilege to be a part of this organisation. I feel a responsibility to use my privilege to conduct research that has explicit goals for social justice and equity in health
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
I value the opportunities I have had to explore important topics on a variety of health issues and to influence how research is conducted. Since societal, structural and material factors intersect to influence every aspect of people's lives, I try to interrogate how particular contexts might affect whatever health issue or intervention we are studying, so that we can respond appropriately. Working alongside some of the best minds in the world is a bit daunting but also tremendously exhilarating and I feel I am learning all the time.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
I have recently had the chance to engage in conversations with colleagues about how our research paradigms, methodologies and practices produce and legitimate particular kinds of knowledge, and may sometimes inadvertently obscure other important perspectives and discussions. It is heartening to see the shift towards a more reflexive approach that engages with issues such as equality, inclusivity and representation, and I look forward to contributing further to these developments.
I am also a member of the Athena Swan Workload Allocation group, and we have been assessing how colleagues across our department experience their workload responsibilities, and how this varies according to factors including gender, working arrangements and personal circumstances. The results will inform policy changes and we hope this will lead to better work-life balance for all and a happy and productive workforce.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
Setting aside my pessimism about the climate crisis, in the next 100 years I would like the Medical Sciences to continue to lead world class scientific research, giving hope to millions across the globe. I hope within the division, staff and students will better reflect the perspectives of the populations that they serve so they can continue to produce research that is practical, relevant and accessible to all.