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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Florida International Faculty Wins Every Footstep Counts Competition

Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and the founder of the Public Health Research Institute of India (PHRII) won the Every Footstep Counts Best Film Award.


[Photo: Dr. Purnima Madhivanan]

The Every Footstep Counts film competition is an initiative of the Positive Action for Children Fund, part of the ViiV Healthcare’s commitment to supporting communities worldwide. ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care of people living with HIV.

The Positive Action for Children Fund received 40 entries for this competition, each telling a compelling story. All entries were put to the public vote, receiving over 100,000 votes from across the globe. The six videos that received the highest number of votes progressed to the judging panel, who selected their top two videos.

Dr. Madhivanan’s research focuses on disadvantaged populations, elucidating the dynamics of poverty, gender and the social environmental determinants of health in the global arena. This work has brought her to India on a yearly basis, in order to help disadvantaged women in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

In 2007, she founded PHRII on the premise that women have the right to voluntary, comprehensive, and culturally sensitive services for family planning, reproductive health, and HIV. The main goal of this non-profit organization is to increase access to healthcare for women in Mysore, the second most populous city in the state of Karnataka, India. Some of the PHRII work include preventing parent-to-child transmission of HIV, free cervical cancer screenings and HPV awareness programs, providing inexpensive diagnostics, strengthening medical ethics, training community health workers, and increasing health awareness. In addition, the PHRII also conducts groundbreaking research and hosts students year round to help train the next generation of healthcare providers and future global health leaders.

The documentary submitted for this contest received over 20,000 votes. Entitled “Change Makers,” it shows how mobile antenatal care clinics increase access to care and HIV testing for India’s most vulnerable women. It explains that almost 60% of the country’s population is still living in rural areas where access to healthcare is nonexistent and travel to healthcare facilities not an option. As a result, despite the availability of treatments that are 98% effective in preventing vertical HIV transmission, a significant number of children living in remote areas continue to be born with HIV. Innovative approaches using mobile clinics and community networks are essential in the fight against HIV and other conditions that increase maternal and infant mortality in rural communities.

Contest winners received an unrestricted grant of $10,000 during the International AIDS conference 2016 in Durban, South Africa.

Link to the video: