Purnima Madhivanan, PhD, MPH, MBBS, associate professor of health promotion sciences and program director of Family and Child Health and Global Health for the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has received the Maria Teresa Velez Outstanding Mentoring Award, which recognizes individuals with an outstanding commitment to mentoring within the University of Arizona.
“I was so honored that my students recommended me for this award. Without my mentors, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I stand on their shoulders. That’s why I consider mentoring such an important role,” Dr. Madhivanan said. “I think we underestimate how much our mentees contribute to our own growth. I have so many wonderful colleagues who started out as mentees, and are now some of my most trusted collaborators.”
“Truly, Dr. Madhivanan’s holistic approach to mentorship is unparalleled,” one of her nominators wrote. “She is persistently challenging me and my colleagues to ‘think big’ and providing opportunities for our research and academic development, and in the same breath, reminding us to care for ourselves and our families.”
Dr. Madhivanan’s work focuses on addressing the systemic inequities that put India’s rural and tribal women at risk for poor health and birth outcomes. In 2005, while completing her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Madhivanan established the PHRII/Prerana Women’s Health Initiative, a clinic that has delivered low-cost, high-quality reproductive health services to 50,000 low-income women living in Mysore District, India. Offering a full-service clinic, molecular laboratory and active affiliations with several major tertiary care hospitals, the site is recognized as a Global Health research and training site by the National Institutes for Health.
A member of the BIO5 Institute and the UArizona Cancer Center, Dr. Madhivanan also works as an epidemiologist and biomedical researcher to examine the intersection of infectious and chronic diseases, including cancer, using -omics technology – tools that analyze large families of cellular molecules, such as genes or proteins. She is investigating the role of the vaginal and gut microbiome in women’s reproductive health, and has conducted several large mixed-methods epidemiological studies in the United States and internationally.
The Outstanding Mentor Awards were renamed in 2017 in honor of Maria Teresa Velez, PhD, associate dean of the Graduate College, who died in 2016. She worked to extend access to higher education for students who historically have been underserved. Each year, the Outstanding Mentoring Awards may be given to a faculty member, appointed professional staff member and classified staff member