Why am I going to India?

I will be leaving in just a matter of days to go to India with the International Reporting Project as a New Media Journalist to examine the issues of child survival. We will be in Mumbai, Nagpur, and New Delhi with visits to rural and slum areas. The IRP has a full schedule for the ten of us chosen to share our findings with our audiences within social media and blogs.

I made a video explaining why I’m going and what I plan to do to further the understanding of STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) during this trip in relation to child survival issues.

Many of the issues surrounding child survival in India; malnutrition, maternal and fetal care, sanitation, infectious diseases, and vaccinations, can be viewed as social issues, ones that stem from the difficulties of being a developing nation with a tremendously large population, and many of them living below the poverty levels and without education.  Segments of India are thriving and growing and on the cutting edge of technology, with some of the most highly educated people in the world, making India a land of disparities.

greek_nation If you want to know more about the rise of science and engineering in India, I highly recommend, Angela Saini’s excellent book, Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World




The child survival issue is significant. The organization, Save the Children, indicates that India lags behind most countries in children’s health. This is not an unrecognized problem, just a massive one that requires concerted effort to address the issues. As I write, currently in India is the UNICEF and USAID Child Survival Summit . Visit the site to see how leaders in the field are evaluating, and aiming to tackle, the myiad of issues that underlie child survival.

I understand that many of the people we are slated to meet in India will be NGO leaders, and persons within governmental and charitable organizations who are working to implement the much needed changes, but my thoughts, as always, turn to the STEM topics: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  How do these topics explain, inform, and attempt to solve the massive issues related to child survival plaguing India and other impoverished areas of the world?

In these few days leading up to the trip, I will provide an introductory series of posts about the issues we will be examining from a STEM perspective and explain these issues towards a general audience.

I will, in turn, look at the following issues related to child survival in India:

Pediatric Infectious Diseases 



Sanitation/Environmental Issues 

Maternal-Fetal Health

These issues are quite inter-related and separating them will most likely result in a loss of the fluidity in explaining the complexity of child survival, but surely you will bear with me there.

For each topic, I will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • How has science furthered our understanding of these topics? Who are some notable scientists who have played a role in our understanding?  (An entire encyclopedia could be written on Infectious Diseases alone and books have been written about individual diseases, but understandably I will have to keep my discussions and explanations much briefer.)
  • How do these topics relate specifically to children in India, as far as I understand them?
  • How has scientific knowledge been applied, either through medicine or engineering via technologies, pharmaceuticals and common sense measures to solve these issues?
  • What type of scientists and engineers work on these types of topics? I think it will not be an all-inclusive list as my knowledge is still limited, but I hope to provide some insight into the fields of science and engineering that one could choose and potentially make significant impacts in improving health and survival across the world.

What I hope to do is to highlight STEM and demonstrate how science and engineering are meaningful fields. I’d like to think that this information could be a source of inspiration to those considering STEM fields.

I appreciate you following my adventures in India and will help me raise awareness by sharing my posts if you are so inspired. You can follow me on twitter  facebook and/or google plus as well as this blog or my site at Scientific American. That’s a lot of places to keep up with, but I know different people enjoy one social media site over others, so I hang out on all of them!