Hema Viswanathan has led studies on maternal and child health in rural India for over 25 years. She has coordinated or worked on projects for clients including the World Bank, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ICRW, PATH, BBC WST and UNICEF. She has worked on understanding contraception, population management, maternal and infant mortality and safe childbirth. Some of her work has focussed on the impact of various communication media on mothers’ knowledge of neonatal health.
- conducted a study on the Unmet Need for Contraception, through the Social Research Institute which she founded as a specialist division of IMRB. This study was carried out in Uttar Pradesh and studied the issues of unmet need in great depth, establishing correlation with a range of social factors that impacted the demand for contraceptives, even in the face of felt need. The findings from this study were presented in Washington DC and widely disseminated to large audiences
- through Baird’s CMC conducted a study among key influencers of HIV vaccine utilisation policies in 27 countries
- led a KABP study on AIDS in Myanmar. Commissioned by UNICEF, this study sought to understand and map attitudes to the AIDS threat. In the absence of available infrastructure, this study required setting up a field team training local people in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies as well as on the sensitivities of the subject, particularly in the existing socio-political context of the country
- conducted a study to understanding HIV management and stigma in Zambia, using qualitative and quantitative research to understand the impact of communication on attitudes to HIV as well as stigma
- led studies to understand the idea of an ideal family and the impact of these ideals on population control
- conducted several studies to inform and assess communication to promote the use of condoms, identifying obstacles to their purchase and use.The study used qualitative and quantitative methods to understand inhibitions to the purchase and use of condoms and assessed the suitability of communication developed from those findings
- exceptional research skills and insight in quantitative and qualitative research methods
- extensive experience of social and rural research, in India as well as internationally
- advice and consultancy for those undertaking social research internationally
- communication strategy
- formative research
- policy research
Hema is adept at managing and delivering both qualitative and quantitative research projects at all levels, working with clients to formulate and answer the right questions for policy makers, academics, donor agencies, and commercial organisations, to meet their objectives. Hema has published books and articles on research in public health and has presented findings from her research work at various international seminars. She has an MBA from India’s leading business school (Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad) and has work experience in consumer marketing, market research and social research.
- Head of Market Research at Baird’s CMC
- President of Barometer Research
In 2004, Hema set up her own consultancy organisation, Barometer Research, which offers high-end research and advisory services to social and development clients all over the world. In addition, and almost at the same time, Hema joined Baird’s CMC to work on a range of research projects around the globe. Before setting up her own company, Hema worked for over twenty years at the Indian Market Research Bureau. During her tenure, she set up and led the Social and Rural Research Institute there, and was the country manager and senior VP for a unit called the Probe Qualitative Research that offers clients insight into consumer perceptions and behaviour.Apart from her extensive field experience, Hema has also taught market research at the Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA) for several years, as well as at other institutes, including the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad. Hema has an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, India’s premier management school and graduated with a BA (Economics) from Gujarat University.
- The Johns Hopkins University
- BBC World Service Trust
- International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
- the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
- Merck & Co., Inc.