Aneel Brar

aneel brar

DPhil Student

St John's College

Thesis: Critical Global Mental Health and the Hidden Lives of Rajasthani Women (working title)

Research: My research focuses on maternal health, specifically on how social forces become e​mbodied as mental and physical disorder among pregnant women and young mothers. Using anthropological methods, epidemiology, and implementation science, my objective is to translate research into policies and programmes that decolonise global health practice, address structural violence, and advance health equity. My doctoral thesis has two components: 1) The design, implementation, and evaluation of a community-based perinatal depression intervention in rural Rajasthan, India; and 2) An ethnographic inquiry into the hidden, everyday lives of Rajasthani women suffering from common mental disorders. An overarching objective of my research is to develop and advance a multidisciplinary methodological approach to global health equity that combines epidemiology, ethnography, political economy, and implementation science.

I am the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Mata Jai Kaur Maternal and Child Health Centre, a non-profit that provides prenatal care and safe delivery services to vulnerable women in rural Rajasthan, India. Working with collaborators at Sangath and researchers in the UK and Canada, I am engaged in the implementation and scale-up of a community-based perinatal mental health intervention called the Khushee Mamta Program (Happy Motherhood Program) and developing a male focused gender-based violence prevention program called Men Against Violence (MAV). These projects have been supported by Grand Challenges Canada, Harvard Medical School’s Center for Global Health Delivery, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

I am also a Research Fellow with the Aga Khan University’s Brain and Mind Institute where I am working with colleagues on a number of global mental health implementation research projects. Previously, I was a Visiting Academic at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. I am originally from Calgary, Canada. My previous training is in biology (BSc, University of Calgary), political science (MA, McGill University), and global health delivery (MMSc, Harvard University).