Sudha Kallakuri: Focusing on mental health in India’s rural communities

Sudha Kallakuri is a Research Assistant for the Research and Development Division at The George Institute for Global Health, while having also worked with George Clinical as a Clinical Researcher.

Sudha has had experience in working on academic trials and seeks to pursue higher education and training in public health research, especially in the areas of non-communicable diseases including mental health and injuries.

Sudha is currently involved in a study where mobile-based technology is being used to provide basic mental health care to scheduled tribe villages in rural Andhra Pradesh. 

What inspires you in the work you do and why?

The George Institute’s focus on development and commitment to people’s health and well-being at the rural community level, especially in low and middle income countries, is one of the main things that keeps me inspired. The Institute’s focus on excellence and its ‘can do’ approach are the two values of the George Institute that inspire me a lot and keep me going.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute?

The work culture and the freedom to express your views easily is something that inspires me to continue work at the George.

How long have you been working at The George Institute?

I actually began working with George Clinical in October 2010, and then have moved into research and development at The George Institute in June 2014.

What is your current research focus?

I’m currently working on mental health using the mobile based app. The study aims to develop and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of a multifaceted primary healthcare worker intervention that utilizes a mobile device to improve the identification and management of individuals with common mental disorders.

The other research area I’m currently working is on adolescent health which is in inception stages. Adolescent health study aims to understand the current status of health among adolescents around the world especially in low and middle income countries like India through a cohort study. This study will also identify potential risk factors for the adolescent-specific health conditions and behaviours that are associated with chronic diseases in adulthood and identify chronic health conditions like mental disorders and injuries that affect them. This will inturn help us to develop interventions to improve health services use by adolescents in need of it, based on new media.

What is your professional background?

I have completed my masters in Biotechnology from Padmavati University in Tirupati. After completion of my masters I got an opportunity to work with Clinigene International Ltd, Bangalore, India for a period of two and a half years after which I moved into George Clinical. So I have an experience in the field of clinical research for a period of almost six and a half years. Throughout this journey I was always interested in working for academic trials and have been always wanting to do my PhD.

To unwind at the end of the day I….

I like to play with my little one and then reciting bedtime stories to him.

My biggest achievement so far…..

While I have had experience at work for a period of almost 7 years now, I have had some achievements in this journey among which some of them are; I have successfully faced a sponsor audit and an FDA audit for one of the global trials, I was awarded the “Initiative Into Action Award” at George Clinical. One of my biggest achievements as a beginner in research was beginning to be a part of publications and contributing as a coauthor in couple of papers.