health has been high on the agenda of the Aga Khan University since the
establishment of the University Hospital and the Medical College in the
mid-1980s and Community Health Sciences [CHS] Department has been regarded as a
cornerstone for fulfilling this mandate. Community health and development is
fully aligned with the vision of the University and the wisdom of its founding
fathers. Over the last three decades CHS has made progress in terms of
establishing educational programs, conducting research, and in establishing
itself as an academic leader in public health in Pakistan.
has been undergoing a reformative process to better organize and respond to the
global and national public health priorities and to reinforce the intent of
embracing community health as a top priority for the Aga Khan University. As of
the year 2018 CHS has been reorganized into five Units – Epidemiology and
Biostatistics; Health Policy and Management; Population and Reproductive
Health; Environmental and Occupational Health and Injuries; and
Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health. The purpose is to
ensure that the efforts of CHS are well directed and that overtime it develops
expertise in specialized areas to respond to the challenges of global and local
has a dynamic faculty of almost 40, supported by 25 administrative staff and
another 100 that are engaged in various research activities of the Department, and
are committed to realizing the vision of CHS – to improve population health by
creating new knowledge; translating knowledge to influence policies and
practice; developing academics, practitioners and leaders in public health; and
faculty is heavily engaged in undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate and continuing
educational and training programs. In addition, CHS’s role and
contribution in the Population and Public Health track of the AKU-wide doctoral
program is being enhanced. The training programs are being reviewed to update curriculum
and competencies, while improving teaching methods that are relevant and in accordance
with the level of learners.
to generate, synthesize and disseminate evidence and translate into knowledge
in public health is at the heart of its work and CHS has successfully submitted
proposals for research grants, published in reputed journals, and used research
results to inform policy and practice. A more strategic approach to health
research in CHS is presently being formulated. Currently, the Department has
23 grants worth USD 8.21 million and many more are in the pipeline.
health practice is receiving increasing attention and CHS is committed to
strengthening its urban and rural field sites to support under- and graduate
training programs, faculty research, service delivery and community development
models. CHS has been engaging in policy dialogue with federal and
provincial governments. This is being given greater impetus in addition to engaging
with development partners at the international level.
is committed to collaborate with Departments within AKU, institutions within
the Aga Khan Development Network and with other academic institutions locally
and globally. For CHS collaboration is essential for enhanced effectiveness,
problem solving, innovation and life-long learning.
is increasing recognition and desire in CHS to achieve the level of excellence
that is reflected in its vision. The Departmental vision is being translated in
a strategic roadmap that would guide the work of CHS for the next several
Committed leadership and working together will be the sine qua non
for the success of CHS, which is epitomized in this African quote – If you want
to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together!!
Dr Sameen Siddiqi
MBBS; FCPS; MSc; DrMed; FFPH
Chair, Department of Community Health Sciences
The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.