The pursuit of knowledge that began years ago with passion and dedication has finally achieved another milestone. I am thrilled to share the completion of my PhD from the University of Newcastle, Australia. This blog serves as both a celebration of my accomplishment and a tribute to the invaluable support and inspiration that guided me through this life-changing journey.
As I reflect on my PhD voyage, I am reminded of the initial flame that ignited my curiosity while I was working with the Public Health Foundation of India’s Health Governance Hub. Inspirations and being encircled by gifted senior (researchers) colleagues (Dr Kabir Sheikh, Dr Surekha Garimella, Dr Shinjini Mondal, Mr Raman VR, Dr JK Lakshmi) led me down this path.
My research, an endeavour of dedication that has formed my academic identity, rests at the core of this voyage. My study aimed to explore how health systems and policy contextual factors influence integration of complementary and alternative medicine (also known as AYUSH – an acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) in India, how AYUSH practitioners implement their unique healthcare philosophies in biomedical settings and the implications of integration for primary healthcare services. I found complex nature of AYUSH integration, represented by an interdependent process in which the institutional and policy contextual factors influenced not only the functions of AYUSH integration but also the professionals involved in the primary healthcare system, and I theorised co-optation. The structure and governance of AYUSH integration require substantial changes more aligned with medical pluralism, independent AYUSH practices and reduced medical dominance.
The first paper from my PhD research was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine and received the best HDR publication award from the Societies, Cultures, and Human Services, University of Newcastle, Australia, in 2021.
The second article was published in another prestigious journal, Health Sociology Review.
Several additional publications are forthcoming, and four international conferences and seminars have presented distinct findings.
I am incredibly grateful for the invaluable support I received during my PhD journey. I want to acknowledge the unwavering guidance and constructive feedback provided by my supervisors, Asso Prof Caragh Brosnan and Dr Ann Taylor. I also want to give a special mention to my mentor, Dr Surekha Garimella, whose belief in my potential boosted my confidence. I am grateful to my parents, Mrs Parbati Patel and Mr Harishchandra Patel, for shielding me from all kinds of difficulties. Their constant affection and empathy served as a pillar of support and inspiration throughout my PhD journey.
The culmination of my PhD voyage was a defining moment characterised by pride, pleasure, and relief upon receiving my hard-earned PhD. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment was the result of years of hard work and commitment being recognised. The ceremony held in the Great Hall on the Callaghan campus of the University of Newcastle served as a visceral reminder of the magnitude of this accomplishment and becoming the first doctorate in my family.
Completing my PhD is not my endpoint but rather a steppingstone towards new prospects. I am thrilled and pleased with my current postdoctoral role at the Community and Health Research Unit, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom. My postdoctoral research is now with Professor Niro Siriwardena and the CaHRU team which has been exceptional in continued learning, exploration, and contribution to advancing healthcare scholarship, especially in the domains of emergency and prehospital care.
As I begin this new chapter, I am honoured and eager to contribute to the academic inquiry in the UK and beyond.