PHFI 2nd on list in global ranking of public health institutions

News Excerpt:

In the first global rankings for schools of public health, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has secured an impressive second place, surpassing Harvard.

About the Public Health Academic Ranking (PHAR):

  • The rankings are part of a report titled ‘A New Model for Ranking Schools of Public Health: The Public Health Academic Ranking’ published in the International Journal of Public Health.
    • The PHAR is the first international bibliometric university ranking system designed for academic public health.
  • The ranking project was funded by the Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva. 
  • Given the importance of public health, the common use of rankings in the academic world, and the demand for a valid ranking system, a ranking for schools of public health was designed and tested.
  • To design the PHAR, the researchers used research analytics tool InCites Benchmarking and Analytics and the database of citation index Web of Science Core Collection. 
    • They collected bibliometric data on 26 schools of public health from each continent, between August and September 2022. 
    • Eleven research indicators/scores, covering four criteria: - 
      • Productivity, 
      • Quality, 
      • Accessibility for readers, 
      • International collaboration for the period 2017–2021 were included. 

Key Highlights of the ranking:

  • Two of the top five schools were from the United States, the top ten included institutions from four continents. 
  • The presence of schools from India, Thailand, South Africa and Singapore is notable and may reflect the increasing importance of public health research in non-high-income countries.
  • PHFI ranks exceptionally well not because of the ‘productivity’ criterion (as might have been felt given the network bringing together numerous schools in the same country) but for the ‘quality’ criterion, which are all at the maximum.

About PHFI:

  • It was launched on March 28, 2006 at New Delhi. 
  • The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is a public private initiative that has collaboratively evolved through consultations with multiple constituencies including Indian and international academia, state and central governments, multi & bi-lateral agencies and civil society groups. 
  • Over the past decade, PHFI has begun to play a transformative role in India’s public health environment. 
  • In doing so, it engages a wide array of stakeholders who include central and state governments, national and international donors, civil society, academic and research institutions and the communities that PHFI works with.
  • PHFI is a response to redress the limited institutional capacity in India for strengthening training, research and policy development in the area of Public Health.
  • Public health is pivotal to national development and global security. 
  • PHFI has established six institutes in different regions of India to promote multidisciplinary education and research which can inform and assist multi-sectoral policies and programmes for protecting people’s health. 
  • It has aimed to be locally relevant, nationally impactful, and globally respected. This recognition is gratifying since it shows we have been on the right path. It is yet another vindication of the respect the world has for Indian science.
  • Structured as an independent foundation, PHFI adopts a broad, integrative approach to public health, tailoring its endeavours to Indian conditions and bearing relevance to countries facing similar challenges and concerns. 
  • The PHFI focuses on broad dimensions of public health that encompass promotive, preventive and therapeutic services, many of which are frequently lost sight of in policy planning as well as in popular understanding. 
  • PHFI’s educational programmes advance the precept and practice of public health in a multi-disciplinary framework, its agenda of policy and programme relevant research is bridging critical knowledge gaps and advancing implementation.

Importance of Public Health:

  • Public Health as a formal discipline should ideally integrate streams of knowledge from diverse disciplines, bringing together learnings and perspectives from - 
    • Life sciences (especially human biology), 
    • Quantitative sciences (such as epidemiology, biostatistics and demography), 
    • Social and behavioural sciences (including economics, sociology, anthropology and communication), 
    • Political science, 
    • Humanities (especially human rights and ethics), and 
    • Management. 
  • A country’s prosperity rides on the health of its population. Today, the foremost challenge confronting India is improving its performance on health indicators. 
  • Beyond these numbers which represent national averages, there is a human dimension to public health – all sections of India’s population need to be assured of accessible, affordable, and effective health services. 
  • It is also important to envision health as extending beyond illness care to disease prevention and wellness promotion. 
  • Health care reforms, in the last decade, experienced a paradigm shift from an exclusive focus on clinical medicine to a concerted public health response, thereby making provision for health promotion, disease prevention, and affordable diagnostic and therapeutic health care for all. 
    • Central to this shift has been the growth of public health, a multi-disciplinary academic stream and a multi- sectoral implementation pathway.


The Public Health Foundation of India's second-place ranking in the global Public Health Academic Ranking underscores its significant contributions to public health research and policy. This achievement reflects the increasing importance of non-high-income countries in this field, emphasizing the critical role of public health in global health challenges.

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