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Vandana Gopikumar, co-founder of The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health, will receive the 2018 Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health for her work in helping women with mental health problems in India, a press release said. She will receive the award – which comes with a $100,000 cash prize – at the University of Pennsylvania on March 21.
“Dr. Gopikumar embodies the very essence of The Renfield Award, which is given to an individual who demonstrates leadership in improving women’s health,” the press release quoted Penn Nursing dean Antonia Villarruel, as saying. Dr. Gopikumar is the youngest awardee so far, and first winner from India, a note from The Banyan said.
Nachiket Mor, director of the India Country Office of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was one of the two people who nominated Dr. Gopikumar for the award. “I hope the Renfield Award will influence policy makers around the world by highlighting the correlation between the achievement of sustainable development goals and mental health. We certainly need a strong push in terms of greater human and financial investment and the engagement of passionate social entrepreneurs, as well as progressive state and society-level commitment,” Dr. Gopikumar said in the release.
The Banyan began in 1993 as a response to the visible gaps in care and attention for homeless women with mental health problems. The Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health was established in 2012 by the Beatrice Renfield Foundation. It is presented biennially to leaders in the field of global women’s health.
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