Indi Trehan, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine
Dr. Trehan’s public health interest lies broadly in all aspects of child health in the developing world, crossing the disciplines of infectious diseases, emergency medicine, preventive medicine, health care financing, and technological solutions to public health problems. His research experience has been at both the molecular level (aimed at addressing the pressing public health need for more effective antibiotics in an era of increasing antibiotic resistance) and also at the population level (aimed at optimizing the management of acute malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa). Dr. Trehan’s current research involves designing and implementing a large clinical trial in Malawi studying the need for antibiotics in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition. In addition to providing service to children and communities suffering from malnutrition, this work involves teaching medical and pre-medical students in Malawi about the science, policy, and implementation of well-designed clinical trials in a resource-limited setting.
What opportunities do you see for interdisciplinary collaboration on public health initiatives in the future?
“The opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in public health are myriad. As an example relevant to my current research, the problem of severe acute malnutrition requires an understanding of the interplay of many disciplines. Infectious diseases, for example, often trigger acute malnutrition. Malnutrition, then, contributes greatly to the morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. Similarly, no understanding of infectious diseases or malnutrition would be complete without an appreciation for the social and anthropological factors involved in the spread of HIV and maternal-to-child transmission of this scourge. And no understanding of malnutrition would be complete without an appreciation of the economic and agricultural factors involved in food insecurity, or the engineering (both at the molecular and the mechanical levels) required to develop improved foods for preventing and treating malnutrition. Solving the problem of malnutrition lies not in the hands of any one discipline, but rather spreads across numerous disciplines.”