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International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), SOMAARTH site, Palwal, Haryana

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INCLEN was created in 1980 as a project of The Rockefeller Foundation in the USA. Through carefully designed training and other support, INCLEN helps clinicians and scientists the world over obtain the knowledge and tools to improve the health of people in the developing world.

INCLEN’s membership includes 90 institutes, 59 Clinical Epidemiology units (CEUs) and 31 Clinical Epidemiology Research & Training Centers (CERTCs) with a membership of 1843 members in 34 countries throughout the world. The multi-disciplinary faculty includes clinical epidemiologists, epidemiologists, health social scientists, biostatisticians, and clinical economists.

SOMAARTH is INCLEN India’s Demographic, Development, and Environmental Surveillance Site in Palwal, Haryana. “SOMAARTH” is derived from Sanskrit: “Som” meaning highest form of mental, physical and spiritual health. “Arth” means money, wealth and resources”. SOMAARTH envisions synergy between economic development, social changes and the health of individuals, families and communities. The SOMAARTH site covers 50 villages from three blocks of Palwal (Hathin, Hodal, & Palwal blocks) with a population size of approximately 200 000.

The area has a mix of populations from different religions, socioeconomic strata and overall development status. This site was selected by INCLEN on the basis of the area’s rapid economic transition (an upcoming peripheral express highway, the establishment of special economic zones) and the emergence of business and educational activities that affect the behaviour and health of the population. When surveillance activity begins, all vital events within the surveillance area will be recorded.

The data and field presence of the SOMAARTH site also provides the foundation for various epidemiological studies and intervention trials. Some examples of these projects are the Newborn Stove Pilot Study (NBSP), and a rota virus vaccine pilot study, while areas such as climate change and health, and epigenetics, environment and child obesity are also being investigated.

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