Aneel Brar, PhD in Medical Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK
(Rotary Club of Red Deer East and Rotary Club of Faringdon & District)
Global Grant Scholar, 2018-2019

Aneel Brar received a Global Grant Scholarship to fund the second year of his PhD studies in medical anthropology at the University of Oxford. His work focuses on disempowered women in rural Rajasthan, India—specifically on how social forces become embodied as illness among pregnant women and young mothers. Aneel’s objective as a medical anthropologist is to translate lessons from research into policies and programs that reduce structural violence and advance health equity.
In addition to his PhD work, Aneel works as the Chief Operating Officer of the Mata Jai Kaur Maternal and Child Health Centre (MJK), a non-profit organization that provides prenatal care, safe childbirth, and mental health services to low­ income and vulnerable women in rural Rajasthan, India. MJK is a collaborative effort of the Prominent Homes Charitable Organization based in Calgary, Canada, and the local Rajasthani community. As part of this work, Aneel is leading the development and implementation of a community-based maternal mental health intervention funded by Grand Challenges Canada.
Aneel is born and raised in Calgary, graduating from the University of Calgary with bachelor’s degrees in biology and political science (though, as a running back for the U of C Dinos, his focus back then was mostly on football). He then received a master’s in political science from McGill University focusing on international development. Before MJK, Aneel worked with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and has represented Canada at several North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) youth leadership forums on development and security in Afghanistan.
After several years working and living in rural India, Aneel decided to return to graduate school to develop specific skills related to global health. He graduated with a Master of Medical Sciences degree in Global Health Delivery from Harvard University, and recently completed a year as a Visiting Academic at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.
Aneel’s long-term goals are to continue working at the nexus of global health research and practice and fostering the connection between rural India and Canada. He hopes to continue working towards finding solutions to global health issues in India, but also among vulnerable populations in his native Alberta.
To find out more about Aneel’s career, visit his LinkedIn page.