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    Profile: Aarthi Raghavan, Asia House Fellow

    Published On: 29 June 2022

    We speak to Asia House Fellow Aarthi Raghavan about her upcoming research exploring the impact of cross-border flows of health data in Asia.

    The role of data in driving innovation across Asia’s healthcare sector will be the focus of a new research project by Asia House Fellow Aarthi Raghavan.

    Aarthi joins Asia House in October 2022, having been selected for the think tank’s inaugural Fellowship Programme, and hopes that her research will have a tangible impact on health policy in Asia. “This is going to start new discussions,” she said. “Cross border flows of health data have immense potential to aid public health interventions in a positive direction, but there are barriers – particularly in the lack of established frameworks.”

    Aarthi’s research will aim to better understand those barriers, as well as the drivers of cross border data flows in Asia, and the implications for public health in the region – particularly in the context of public health innovation. It will be essential reading for stakeholders in Asia’s public health space.

    Public sector innovation

    Aarthi’s strong interest in public sector innovation was sharpened during a Master’s in Public Policy at the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, with her research idea developing in light of the seismic health policy shifts heralded by COVID-19.

    “Even before the pandemic, people were starting to talk about public sector innovation. COVID-19 forced people to act. The pandemic proved that governments are capable of changing and innovating,” she said.

    Aarthi, who also holds degrees in Chemical Engineering, Clinical Psychology and a diploma in International Business Management, believes her childhood growing up surrounded by scholarly discussions and debate – her father is a university academic – led her towards a career in research. Indeed, she counts her parents as both her inspiration and source of support as a researcher.

    “My father provided me with an academic grounding that has helped me develop throughout my research career, and my mother has always been my closest friend and motivator,” she said.

    “As a child I was constantly exposed to an academic environment,” which, combined with a natural curiosity, made Aarthi “a voracious reader.”

    When she isn’t reading, though, Aarthi can be found painting abstract art or writing science fiction – a genre she loves. Yet she is keen to get going with the Fellowship.

    “Dream project”

    “It’s a dream project,” she said. “The opportunity to engage with so many different stakeholders on this research, from policymakers to business leaders, is really something that only Asia House can offer.

    “I’m also particularly excited about receiving support and mentoring from a research team as experienced as Asia House’s.”

    Aarthi, who is fluent in Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi and English, will be based in Chennai, India, during the Fellowship, with her research due to be published in 2023.

    Read more about the Fellowship Programme.

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