Public Health Model for a Billion Humans

Module Overview

Healthcare in India is an endless challenge. A never-ending catch-me-if-you-can ensues as its public health system props up a teeming population. Alternately fulfilling, frustrating and fascinating, India’s healthcare systems have no other option but to innovate in order to cater to growing demand.

India’s healthcare systems and practitioners will boggle your mind by how they are able to stretch limited resources to adapt to the growing demand for healthcare – whether it’s a floating clinic that goes into the remote islands of West Bengal by boat, pay-what-you-can maternity centers in Tamil Nadu, a cutting-edge bio-technology lab in Hyderabad, specialty ophthalmology clinics for medical tourists in Gujarat, a medicinal herb plantation in Kerala, or your neighborhood laughter yoga club in Mumbai.

And it’s still nowhere near enough! There are no better lessons in healthcare than hands-on, on the ground experiences in India. Meet a wide variety of healthcare ecosystem players such as hospitals (both allopathic and Ayurvedic), biotech and pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers and ancillary service providers (e.g. ambulances). Interact with innovative social enterprises that have evolved ingenious revenue models to serve, scale and survive! Learn how these organizations and individuals are overcoming mammoth challenges in infrastructure, policy and awareness to make healthcare accessible, affordable and effective for a billion people. In fact, the government announced in 2018 that it will soon implement the world’s largest public health benefits program in India!

In addition to these inspiring meetings and visits, students will have a chance to immerse themselves in local culture through a variety of meaningful activities that stimulate learning while also being fun and interactive (e.g. guided cultural tours of historic monuments and buzzing bazaars, bicycle tours, cooking classes).


Megacities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai provide the best opportunities to understand India’s public health system, its challenges, and innovations that address these challenges. These cities also offer a rich taste of local life and culture. We recommend a minimum of two cities (e.g. Delhi and Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore). If time permits, we also recommend a visit to rural areas (where 70% of Indians live) to see rural healthcare services in action.

Key Elements of the Program

  • Meetings with healthcare ecosystem players (hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical colleges, social workers, NGOs, government bodies); including visits with innovative social enterprises delivering healthcare services at scale.
  • Interactive discussions with healthcare professionals as well as local community members that deepen understanding of the socio-economic and cultural context.
  • Facilitated reflection sessions with experienced professionals.
  • Cultural immersions to experience and understand the local landscape, context and culture.

Educational Outcomes

  • Understand the types, scope and magnitude of challenges facing the India public health system, and compare them with those back in one’s own country.
  • Understand the socio-economic, logistical and infrastructure context in which healthcare solutions and services function.
  • Learn about how the country is pioneering and leveraging breakthroughs in modern medicine while also relying on ancient healing systems such as Yoga, Ayurveda and Naturopathy.
  • Learn about innovative models that social enterprises have developed to provide effective, affordable healthcare to a country with an enormous number of people living in poverty.
  • Develop cross-cultural competence by connecting and communicating with healthcare professionals in the country through interactions in both formal and informal contexts.
  • Gain personal inspiration and motivation from the powerful stories of successful social entrepreneurs who share their stories of motivation, struggle and success.

Module Length

This program can be customized according to curricular needs, from a minimum of 1 week to a maximum of 8 weeks. Longer programs will involve a larger scope and/or additional locations, with potential for more hands-on experiences that help apply theory to practice.


Stays are in comfortable guesthouses or hotels.

Transport is by plane or train for intercity transfers and air-conditioned coaches for intra-city movement.

Featured Cultural Experiences

Note: Specific cultural experiences will depend on the location and duration chosen for the program.

Customize / Enquire About This Program

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