The Society is pleased to announced that Abhay Bang, MD, MPH, D. Sc (Hon.), D. Lit (Hon.), and Rani Bang, MD, MPH, D.Sc (Hon), D.Lit (Hon.), are this year's keynote speakers for the 2019 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD, adjacent to Washington, DC. The Bangs founded the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) in 1985 in Gadchiroli, a remote district in Maharashtra, India, where they live, provide medical care and conduct research in 150 villages.
Abhay Bang, at left in the photo, was the lead researcher of a 1999 study on the effect of home-based newborn and child care in rural India that helped develop a new model for neonatal care in developing countries. The approach, which has reduced the infant mortality rate and shaped national and global policies, has been replicated in 10 countries and is being scaled up nationally by the Government of India. The research also was selected as one of the milestone papers published in the Lancet in the past 180 years and included in Vintage Papers from Lancet.
He currently is a member of the Central Health Council, Government of India. He was Chairman of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health, Government of India, and has been a member of India's National Commission on Population, the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health; the High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage for the Government of India; and the High Level Committee On Socioeconomic, Health And Educational Status Of Tribal Communities Of India.
Rani Bang, pictured to the right, has made a landmark contribution to improving women's life as a gynecologist, research scientist and social activist. She was the lead researcher of the 1989 study, "Prevalence of gynecological morbidity in rural Indian women," that brought worldwide attention to the hidden burden of gynecological diseases in rural women in developing countries. She currently is a member of the International Advisory Group on Universal Health Care - WHO and the Steering Group, National Health Mission, Government of India. She also has been a member of several national and international committees on women's health and was a member of the National Commission on Population.
The Bangs and SEARCH have received nearly 60 awards, including the Maharashtra Bhushan, the highest honor of the Maharashtra state, and the Padma Shri by the President of India. They also received the national award from the Indian Council of Medical Research have been and honored by Save the Children and the MacArthur Foundation. In 2005, TIME magazine recognized them as the Global Health Heroes.