Profile: Vandana Wadhwa

Dr. Vandana Wadhwa, President/CEO, Meridian Research and Consulting, Inc., and Visiting Scholar, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA. Vandana takes an holistic approach towards her broad-based research interests of gender, health and development studies, disabilities, and how illnesses affect quality of life. She is currently the Chair of the Disability Geography Specialty Group, and a past Chair of the HMGSG.

Vandana Wadhwa earned her BA (Honors) and Masters in Geography (Population Studies) from Panjab University, India, and went on to earn another Masters in Regional Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Before she came to the USA, she briefly worked for the Operations Research Group in India, evaluating a UNICEF project on the nexus between education and school-run nutrition and health programs, which greatly increased her passion for field-embedded studies. She received her PhD in Urban Studies in 2003 from the University of Akron, where she found her passion for geographies of health and gender.

Vandana was able to realize her passion for field studies through the support of an AAG Research Grant in 2006, and has published the results in Social Science Medicine, as well as GeoJournal. She has also authored, co-authored and co-edited numerous other journal articles, encyclopedia entries and books. Vandana is co-editor of Malaria in South Asia with Dr. Rais Akhtar and Dr. Ashok K. Dutt (Springer Verlag 2010), and of a volume on Social Geography (Cambridge University Press, 2011). For the latter, she wrote on emergent trends in social geographies in this case, critical geography studies of health, well-being, and disability. Among other projects, is collaborating with and mentoring students regarding research on rural health (India), vulnerability of sex workers to HIV/AIDS (India), sustainable options for tackling HIV/AIDS (Uganda), and impact of globalization on persons with disabilities (India).

Vandana has served the academic and local communities on many occasions, and is the current Chair of the Disability Specialty Group and South Asia Director of the Asian Geography Specialty Group. She is the Past-Chair of the Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group, where she highlighted health policy and gender development issues she is the recipient of the latter s Distinguished Service Award. Vandana is deeply committed to work on social justice and anti-poverty issues as well apart from continuing her work on gender and health, she is also engaged in fair housing and homelessness issues, particularly as related to health and health policy. She is a board member of the Disability Policy Consortium in Boston, MA as well as a research committee member on the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. Her future research interests include the study of disabilities and how illnesses affect quality of life, and health issues as related to gender.

Vandana may be contacted at vandanaw@nullverizon.net.

Updated: August 2011