Helping ‘the poorest of the poor’

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Anubhav and Arunika Agarwal share more than a marriage. Both earned MBAs focused on health management in their home country of India. Both worked in India and Afghanistan on health improvement projects. And both are about to graduate with master of public health degrees from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

But even as each earns an M.P.H. in global health, they have focused coursework in different areas—Anubhav on quantitative methods, Arunika on health economics—so that their knowledge and skill sets will be complementary. That strategy has helped them get the most out of their HSPH educations. “He can tell me what he has learned and I can tell him what I have learned,” said Arunika. “We have built on our partnership.”

A house is not a home
Anubhav literally grew up in a hospital. His father, a critical care physician, ran a private hospital in Uttar Pradesh, India and the family’s residence was on the top floor. That unique situation enabled Anubhav to see how well—or poorly—the hospital functioned. He came to understand that “sometimes it’s the organization and administration of health services, not medical science, that plays the key role in improving a health outcome or saving someone’s life.”

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