Anil Kulkarni, MSc, Ph.D., has been awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship Award for Academic and Professional Experience. Dr. Kulkarni currently holds a position as professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.
This newly-awarded scholarship will enable Dr. Kulkarni to teach at four universities in India: Sikkim Manipal University Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita University Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, Deccan Education Society affiliated Pune’ University and its Fergusson College, and Haffkine Institute in Mumbai, affiliated with the University of Mumbai.
He will be teaching immunonutrition and functional foods in the global health era, beginning in the fall of 2014.
Teaching in such high-profile institutions in India under this fellowship will also give the researcher a wider view of the “state of medical education in this field” in India. India is a country that Dr. Kulkarni sees as an endless resource for studying the immunonutrition branch of science, due to the huge inequalities concerning social and economic issues and the country’s public health problems. Indeed, both rich and poor struggle with health problems in India. If poorer layers of the population face serious malnourishment and the spread of infectious diseases, the richer are at risk due to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. These lifestyle-related conditions are largely due to the economic growth of the past ten years and are likely to surpass the threat of infectious diseases over the next decade.
Kulkarni explained that although immunonutrition is a modern term, humans and animals have, through the ages, “learned how to maintain and restore good health”. He plans to “write and improvise a course curriculum for this neglected and ignored field in U.S. medical schools and health science centers.”
The fellowship includes setting up a Center for immunonutrition at the University of Houston, in what will be a world premiere for the field. Kulkarni fervently believes in the importance of what he calls “immonutrition education” based on his forty years of studying the subject.
Anil Kulkarni grew up in rural India, where his grandfather ran a family business of manufacturing a preserve made from Asian, Eastern European, and African herbs and spices. By increasing blood cells, stamina and overall health, this preserve was purported to improve physiology, if taken daily. As a boy, he hesitated between pursuing a career as a medical doctor and raising awareness about preventive health care through proper nutrition. Having earned a Ph.D. in medicine in the United Kingdom, he later went on to the United States, where he joined the UTHealth Medical School.
Fulbright grants are funded by the U.S. Congress, as well as contributions from both partner countries and the private sector. Its recipients are chosen by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which is a group of twelve people personally appointed by the president.