Apr 2019
Apr 2019

Harvard Medical School researcher Vikram Patel to receive prestigious award for global health

Harvard Medical School professor and researcher Dr Vikram Harshad Patel will receive the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Award for Global Health.

The honor recognizes the world’s top scientists and their outstanding achievements in global health research. Laureates receive a $100,000 cash honorarium and will be formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019, at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.

Dr Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He is being recognized for research that has transformed understanding of and attitudes toward the importance of mental health in a global context, for his contributions to international mental health policy, and for efforts to improve access to mental health services in areas of the world where mental health resources are acutely lacking.

Patel has been instrumental in establishing the field of global mental health. He has dedicated his research to raising the global profile of mental health through epidemiological research that has demonstrated the burden of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries as well as their impact on poverty, child growth and development, and risk for HIV infection, among other conditions.

Patel’s work has demonstrated that mental health problems are universal forms of human suffering that fuel a vicious cycle with deprivation. The central theme of Patel’s work has been democratizing access to mental health care and making it a right for everyone, everywhere.

Much of Patel’s work has been done in partnership with Sangath, an Indian nongovernmental organization that he co-founded in 1996. Sangath, one of India’s leading community-based research organizations, received a 2008 MacArthur Foundation International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions and a 2016 World Health Organization Public Health Champion of India prize.

Patel co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health and the Mental Health Innovation Network at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Movement for Global Mental Health, the largest global network of individuals and organizations advocating for promoting services and human rights for people with mental health problems. In 2018, he co-founded the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative, which is developing a suite of innovative, interdisciplinary programs aimed at implementing and generating knowledge to transform mental health globally.

The Canada Gairdner Awards, bestowed by the Gairdner Foundation, celebrate the world’s best biomedical and global health researchers through seven annual awards. The awards recognize international excellence in fundamental research and global health work that impact human health.

To date, the Gairdner Foundation has bestowed 387 awards on scientists from 35 countries. Of those, 89 have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes.

Apr 2019

City Council names businessman Naresh Solanki mayor of Southern California City of Cerritos

Photo: Mayor Solanki with his wife, Priti

The City Council has named businessman Naresh Solanki mayor of Southern California City of Cerritos.

The council, which names a mayor and mayor pro tem each year from the five-person council, chose Solanki at the April 18 council meeting.

Solanki had been the mayor pro tem while Mark Pulido held the reigns of mayor for the past year.

Solanki was elected to the Cerritos City Council in 2015. He became mayor pro tem in 2016 and 2018.

A Cerritos resident since 1988, Solanki previously served as a Cerritos Planning Commissioner from 2007 to 2015.

He is a member of the City Council's Budget/Finance, Performing Arts, Personnel and Business and Industry committees.

He serves as the council's delegate to the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Gateway Cities Council of Governments-91/605/405 Corridor Cities Committee and SELACO Workforce Development Board-Policy Board.

Solanki is the alternate delegate to the California Contract Cities Association, Sanitation Districts 2, 3, 18 and 19/Waste Management and Southeast Water Coalition Joint Powers Authority.

Additionally, Solanki is a member of the Cerritos Optimist Club and the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He is involved with and supports local chapters of the Lions Club and Rotary Club as well as Blind Start of America. He owns and is the CEO/president of a chain of retail grocery supermarkets located throughout Southern California. 

Mayor Solanki and his wife, Priti, have two sons, Mehul and Jay.

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