Mohan Tanniru, PhD, an adjunct professor in the Division of Public Health Practice and Translational Research at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to study how health care reaches Indigenous people in Canada’s Thunder Bay region on Lake Superior.
Dr. Tanniru will explore what innovative services and community development strategies can be used to bridge any service gaps. He said he was excited to be delving into these issues, as his background until recently had largely focused on business and information technology.
“I have always wanted to explore the role of technology in health care,” Dr. Tanniru said. “But my work at a hospital the last two years prior to my retirement made me realize there is much to offer by using a different lens – one that is business strategy and innovation focused – to address current health care challenges.”
Dr. Tanniru is director of the college’s Global Population Health program and Research, Education and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH) program. REACH is a strategic partnership that involves a network of institutions in Jordan, Iraq and the U.S. focused on creating awareness to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance. Both are part of the college’s Global Health Institute Academy.
“This is a recognition of my work since I transitioned to health care and public health and helps me continue this work with a focus on using innovative services and technology to address the needs of underserved populations,” Dr. Tanniru said.
Dr. Tanniru has been an adjunct professor in the Zuckerman College of Public Health since 2019 and is a senior investigator for the Global Health Initiative of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. From 2002 to 2007, he was a professor and the head of the Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) at UArizona’s Eller College of Management. Previously, he was a dean and professor of MIS at the Oakland University School of Business in Rochester, Michigan.
Dr. Tanniru will partner with Lakehead University, hospitals and community service organizations in Thunder Bay to address Indigenous health issues in the area. An “Our Health Counts” community-based study last fall noted the region’s Indigenous population may be two to four times that of a 2016 census – 23,080 to 42,641, instead of 9,780 – since just 15% of indigenous adults participated in the survey. The study included several fact sheets on access to health care, discrimination, housing, mental and oral health.
Dr. Tanniru said, it was his “work in looking at how hospitals are using patient room technology to deliver targeted care to patients, and how Henry Ford Health System's Global Health Initiative is learning how to use innovative services and technology to help low- and middle-income countries provide care to rural and underserved populations” that got him interested in public health. A desire “to spend more time on care delivery outside a hospital that is patient centric” inspired his Fulbright application.
The Fulbright Program was created in 1946 with funding from Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to improve mutual understanding among people of the U.S. and other countries. Through it, more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals have been afforded the opportunity to study, teach, exchange ideas, conduct research and contribute to solutions to important international challenges. Visit the Office of Research, Innovation and Impact website to learn more about the Fulbright program at UArizona.