Thank You for Helping Us Change the Course of Chronic Disease
By Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO, Arogya World
Arogya World is 5 years old today, which also happens to be International Women’s Day. It has been very exciting working with colleagues, friends, volunteers, partners, donors, and thought leaders to figure out how to do real-world science while making a true public health impact. Building a global health non-profit is tough, and yes, some of the work is tedious, but mostly it is sheer joy. It is soul stirring. And genuinely inspiring.
We are most proud that our programs have shown proof of concept in India and have helped 150,000 people lead healthy lives. We’ve educated more than a million people on diabetes prevention, learned how to leverage mobile technology, made three Clinton Global Initiative commitments, and been named a finalist for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. We’ve been to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and made presentations in Geneva, Melbourne, New York, and Bangalore. We have helped individuals change behavior, companies change culture, and governments change policy. And we have done this with a multi-sectoral, partnership approach and an emphasis on science and impact measurement.
The story of Arogya World is the story of many people joining hands, of truly collaborating. It is humbling to reflect on how many people have helped us get to where we are today. We quite simply wouldn’t have come so far without the support of so many connections and friends:
Insightful Board colleagues and closest advisors: Pamela Yih, BS Ramaswamy, Neelum Aggarwal, Parminder Batra, Seema Bhatia, Raj Dave, Arun Gowda, Kathryn Graves, Meryle Melnicoff, Heather Nornes, Deepa Prahalad, Ujwal Thakar, Susheela Venkataraman
Forward-thinking partners and sponsors: Cigna Foundation, Novartis Foundation, Nokia, Emory University, Merck, MSD India, Aetna, Johnson & Johnson, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Hriday, Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, Ujjala Foundation, Aon, Abt SRBI, Vignet, American Cancer Society, Agastya Foundation, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Mesirow, Public Health Foundation of India, Nationwide, Quinnox, Ipsos, Jana, Population Services International, UNICEF, Clinton Global Initiative
Trusted consultants: Bala Aryan, Geeta Bharadwaj, Nandini Ganesh, Carrie Hutchison, Sandhya Ramalingam, Shyamala Sami
Cutting-edge medical and public health experts: Monika Arora, Linelle Blais, Om Ganda, Ranjani Harish, Fran Kaufman, V Mohan, Venkat Narayan, Angela Pfammatter, Sethu Reddy, Srinath Reddy, Bonnie Spring, and the Indo-US Scientific Steering Committee, Behavior Change Task Force
And so many more who have inspired and connected us: Sir George Alleyne, Oscar Abello, Josh Appelbaum, Anu Aggarwal, Neeru Arora, CR Arun, Eric Augustson, Shalini Bassi, Gloria Barone, Tanuja Birla, Bob Chapman, Nilesh Chatterjee, Sally Cowal, Tapan Das, Mychelle Farmer, David Figliuzzi, Michael Fuerst, Ken Gaalswyk, Mildred Garcia, Gaurav Kumar Gupta, Benn Grover, Pat Hanrahan, Praduman Jain, Satish Jeevanavar, Sidhant Jena, Gagan Jindal, Thea Joselow, Jawahar Kanjilal, Meenakshi Khattar, Sandeep Kishore, Bindu Malini Krishnan, Raja Krishnamurthi, Anil Kumar, Uday Kumar, Nicole London, Mir Masud-Elias, Hemant Mathur, Ann McMikel, Jeff Meer, Navami Naik, Biji Nair, Nikhil Narayan, BV Natesh, Randy Nornes, Shashi Ohri, David Olson, Sandeep Patel, Sameer Pujari, Subha Ramiah, Geetha Sudarshan Rao, Dee Reed, Ariella Rojhani, Julie Sabol, Girish Saligram, Jordan Scher, Daniel Seymour, Laura Solia, Jayanthi Sreenivasiah, Mallory Stasko, Jeff Sturchio, Tom Sulpizio, Neil Tanner, Kevin Walker, Karen Weinseiss, David Zimmerman
Our young Arogya World Fellows: Rohini Bhatia, Christina Gupfinger, Sanjana Patel, Nikhil Patil
Our generous donors, who have generously supported us in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and indeed all over the world
And last but not the least, my husband Ravi and daughters Sunita and Naina for putting up with me whenever I got lost in Arogya World!
While the journey so far has been exciting, what is perhaps more exciting is where we are going. Our programs are poised for scale up and the potential for impact is immense. I can’t wait to see where we will be when we have implemented our 10-year Impact Plan. We’re enthusiastic about learning from the past, shifting gears and propelling our programs forward to make greater impact. And, in honor of sharing our birthday with International Women’s day, we also want to see that our “Insights from 10,000 women on the impact NCDs” study shapes the global dialogue in a post-2015 world. We are busy developing and testing our mHealth2.0 chronic disease prevention App, building off the success of mDiabetes, educating thousands of middle school children, and are working hard to get hundreds of companies in India to become Healthy Workplaces.
Making a meaningful contribution to global health is what we set out to do (see our first blog post from 2010), and that is still what drives us today.
Thank you for all coming with me on this journey—your support means the world to me.
Anniversary Wishes from Around the World
“Please accept my congratulations on Arogya World’s anniversary celebration on March 8. I have been highly impressed by the Healthy Workplaces program. Though I do not have much knowledge about the parameters for assessing health in a workplace, whenever I visit an organization for other purposes – say helping with accounts or training their employees in various subjects – I now go round the premises to see for myself the environment, work culture, dining hall and food served! Good beginner shall we say!”
– B S Ramaswamy, Chairman, Arogya World India Trust
“Arogya World, through its focus on NCD mHealth initiatives, has become a champion for rationality and cost-effectiveness in the deployment of global population health programs.”
– Rajiv Dave, CEO, HealthARC Benefit Corporation
“I am totally in awe of Nalini, as I’ve seen her from the sidelines shaping her dream with her relentless passion and effort in creating Arogya World from concept to a sustainable entity. Knowing Nalini and her passionate commitment to this cause, I am sure that Arogya World will further evolve to a sizeable global entity in making difference in human life. I truly wish her success in every sense of the word.”
– Anil Kumar, Cofounder & CEO, QUINNOX
“My sincere congratulations to Arogya World for five years of passionate leadership in non-communicable diseases. It has been Emory Center’s pleasure to work with Nalini Saligram and her team in creating text messages for mobile health platforms to help prevent diabetes and training coaches to deliver lifestyle change programs in India. Creative partnerships and innovative initiatives are the hallmark of Arogya World’s work, and I cannot wait to see what is accomplished over the next five years!”
– Linelle Blais, Executive Director, Emory Centers for Training and technical Assistance and Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University
“NCDs hurt, maim, and kill millions each year. The work of Arogya World, at the direction of the indefatigable Nalini Saligram, is inspiring people around the world and giving them the tools to help themselves, their families, and their communities live healthier, more productive lives.”
– Thea Joselow, Director of Communications at Aetna
“Congratulations to Arogya World on its 5th Anniversary! It has been a privilege to work with you nearly from inception and to see your vision and groundbreaking efforts and ideas in combating NCD’s come to fruition.”
– Tom Sulpizio, Jr., CPA, Principal – Accounting and Audit, Shechtman Marks Devor PC
“Happy 5th Birthday to Arogya World! Congratulations to Arogya World and to Nalini for her vision and her unstoppable passion in leading Arogya World in the fight against NCDs. We are very proud that in five short years Arogya World has successfully implemented on-the-ground programs which are making a difference to individuals to lead healthier lives as well as help raise global awareness of NCDs, especially how NCDs have a huge negative impact on women. We had wonderful partners and individuals who were willing to take a risk with us (an unknown entity), and generously supported us through financial contributions and pro-bono time. It has been such a privilege and honor to be part of the Arogya World journey together with Nalini from its inception and I look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts over the next years. Being a part of Arogya World has been one of the most meaningful engagements I have had. I am very pleased that in my own small way, I can join in this fight against NCDs and hopefully help make a difference to the future of our world.”