Community Health Learning Program

Overview of the Program

The Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action (SOCHARA) through School of Public Health Equity and Action (SOPHEA) offers a unique Community Health Learning Programme (CHLP). Initiated in the year 2003, it has evolved and grown in strength through a process of review and evaluation. In 17+ years, 500+ participants have transformed their lives and that of the communities they work with. Most of them have taken on senior and leadership positions in their organizations.  

The programme is unique as it encourages participants to explore the social paradigm of community and public health based on community needs and first-hand community experiences. 

Established mechanisms such as Academic and Research Council (ARC) for curriculum design and SOCHARA Institutional Scientific and Ethics Committee (SISEC) for review of research proposals support the programme. Participants will have access to the resource center at SOCHARA, Bangalore and a wide range of partners and networks. Mentorship and a person-centered approach to learning with a justice orientation to health are the core components. 

Participants conduct a community-based enquiry or initiate action on areas of felt needs in community health. These could include any one but not limited to following,

  1. Child Health
  2. Communicable Diseases
  3. Disability
  4. Geriatric Health
  5. Health and Environment 
  6. Mental health
  7. Non-Communicable Diseases
  8. Nutrition
  9. Pandemics (including COVID-19)
  10. Rural Health
  11. Sanitation
  12. Tribal Health
  13. Urban Health 
  14. Women’s Health

CHLP participants have returned with a rich experience to work in organizations across India and are working enthusiastically in community health.

The upcoming CHLP commencing from May  2023  prepares the participants for community health action during a post pandemic period and equip the participants to build appropriate strategies to tackle the emerging challenges. The duration of the programme is one year with 30 learning modules delivered through live online sessions and a community-based health action project to enhance the learning experience.

Key features

  • Part time- Participants can continue with their current employment
  • Blended learning- Weekly live classes with recordings made accessible
  • Mentorship- Continuous mentoring by experienced subject matter experts and community health practitioners through the programme and after.
  • Community based field projects- With the participant’s current organization or SOCHARA’s partner organization


The CHLP program structure and curriculum has been developed through a consultative process involving several community health/public health practitioners. It has been framed according to the Indian context and local needs. It provides an overall perspective to community based approaches and is guided by the principles of health equity and rights. The program has a rich set of learning modules which will cover core concepts of community health, linkages between community health and factors like globalization,climate change and culminating in understanding how to create a tangible impact. 

Understand Core Concepts

  1. Understanding community health
  2. Communitization of health
  3. Social Determinants of health
  4. Right to health and access to health care

Explore Linkages

  1. Mental health especially in the context of COVID-19
  2. Health movements
  3. Climate change and health
  4. Globalization and health

Create Impact

  1. Public health management
  2. Communication for health
  3. Health technology and innovation
  4. Fundraising and proposal writing
  5. Project management



Our faculty comprises a mix of community health practitioners and research scholars. 

Dr. Ravi Narayan – Founder: SOCHARA, Community Health Advisor 

Dr. Pruthvish S – Public Health Expert, Former HOD, Department of IC Community Medicine, M S Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore 

Dr Maya Mascarenhas – Consultant Trainer, NHSRC, GOI

Dr. K R Antony – Former Health and Nutrition Specialist for UNICEF and Former Director, State Health Resource Centre Chhattisgarh.

Mr. Augustine Velliath – Founder Director of the Asian Center for Entertainment Education and Chairperson of Mindshare Yuvah

Mr. SJ Chander – Founder, CEO, Foundation for Sustainable Health India (FSHI) and Consultant, Maya Health

Dr Rajeev B R – Community Dentist, Research Scholer and Former CHLP Fellow

Mr. Ravi Duggal –  Independent Researcher & Consultant

Dr. Ramani Atkuri – Independent Public Health Physician

Dr. Ravi D’Souza – Community Health Physician

Mr. Prasanna Saligram – Community Health Practitioner

Mr. Ameer Khan – Health Activist

Mr. Prahalad I M – Community Health Practitioner on Water and Sanitation

CHLP Team Members

1. Dr. Thelma Narayan – Programme Director
2. Mr. Karthikeyan- Associate Director
3. Ms. Janelle Fernande- Associate Director
4. Ms. Ranjitha L- Programme Assistant
5. Ms. Maria Dorothy Stella – Secretary, CHLP Programme

CHLP Advisors

Dr. Thelma Narayan – Epidemiologist and Public Health Policy Analyst and Practitioner, Co-Founder: SOCHARA

Dr. Denis Xavier– Academician and Researcher, Professor of Pharmacology, St. John’s Medical College, Former Vice Dean (PG), St. John’s Medical College, Head, Division of Clinical Research, St. John’s Research Institute

Mr Gurumoorthy – Health Development, Secretary and Coordinator SOCHARA


1. Dr Adithya Pradyumna
2. Mr Ameer Khan
3. AS Mohammed
4. Mr Azam Khan

5. Mr Chander SJ
6. Mr Gurumoorthy
7. Dr Prabir Chatterjee
8. Ms Janelle Fernandes
9. Dr Denis Xavier
10. Dr Manjulika Vaz
11. Dr Maryann Washington
12. Dr Maya Mascarenhas
13. Dr Mohan Isaac
14. Ms Nidhi Shukla
15. Ms Padma Deosthali
16. Dr Priyadarsh
17. Dr Pruthvish
18. Dr Radhika Kaulgud
19. Dr Ravi Dsouza
20. Ms Vandana Prasad
21. Dr Subhasri
22. Dr Sunil Kaul
23. Mr Suresh
24. Dr Unnikrishnan


1) What does the Community Health Learning Programme (CHLP) offer?
The CHLP offers an opportunity for young & mid-career professionals to learn about community health and experience its various options by involving themselves in a person- centered and community learning programme.

2) What are the objectives of the CHLP?
To sharpen analytical skills and to deepen the understanding of the social paradigm
of community health.
To broaden the understanding of socio-economic, political, cultural, and ecological
inter-linkages to health and health systems
To strengthen personal motivation, interest, and long-term commitment to
community health

3) For how long this program has been ongoing
The program has been running since 2003 and has evolved in phased manner through a
process of review and evaluation.

4) What is the profile of the previous participants?
Over 500 graduates of health, social sciences, humanities, development studies,
engineering, management etc.

5) What are the previous participants doing now?
Previous participants are on the “Health for All” journey and continue to do meaningful
community health work.

6) I am not in the health sector but interested in joining after this program.  Can I

Yes, if you are passionate to work in the domain of community health, we encourage
you to apply for the programme.

7) I am working for the government – can I apply. If so, should I get any formal

Yes, you can apply. You will need to get a letter of permission from the concerned

8) Can I take the programme without undertaking the project?
Yes, you can do the programme without undertaking the community-based project.
However, we encourage programme participants to undertake a project to enhance the

9) What do I gain from the CHLP?
Through CHLP you will be exposed to the large canvas of community health. The
programme will introduce you to the ‘social or community’ paradigm of health. It also
provides an opportunity to understand the various community health initiatives in the
country. In addition, it gives you an option of doing a community-based project with any
development organization including your current organization.

The group-learning and debriefing sessions provide an opportunity to learn, discuss, reflect
and share experiences and learn from other’s experiences. The personal mentoring
process during the programme ensures that you get ample opportunity to reflect and learn
from your experiences along with getting guidance for planning future course of action.
You get an opportunity to interact with some of the pioneers of community health, public
health and health policy in the country. You are also encouraged to attend suitable external
training programmes and workshops.

10) Who will my colleagues be in the programme?
Participants in the program are from varying backgrounds, already working or with a
keen interest to work in the health sector. They come from all regions of India.

11) What am I expected to do during the learning programme?

You are expected to attend 5 days orientation programme at SOCHARA, Bangalore. During the orientation you will be engaged in understanding the concepts of community health, the health status in India and how health is determined by social, economic, and political processes.

You must attend 2, two-hour online live sessions every week. The sessions will be held on
Monday and Saturday, tentatively scheduled after 5 pm. Guest lectures/ reflection
sessions/ lived experience sessions will be a part of these online live sessions.

You will be expected to take up a specific community-based project based in an area of
interest during the course of the programme. The project can be undertaken in the
geographic area where you are based and in the current organization you are working.
SOCHARA will provide all the support through their partner networks for the community-
based project if required. You are expected to submit a reflective and analytical report of
your work before the end of the programme.

12) Is there any group work?

Yes, there will be group work. In our experience group work has proven to be an
excellent cross-learning opportunity for Fellows.

13) What is the duration of the programme?
The duration of the programme is one year.

14) When does the programme begin?
The programme commences on 1 st or 2 nd week of May 2023.

15) Is it a full time or part time programme?
It is a part time programme, and you can continue with your current work.

16) How many hours per week should I devote to the program?
Participants will have to dedicate more than 10 to 12 hours / week for the programme.

17) What are the programme fees?
The learning programme cost is INR 90,000 and we are offering scholarships for eligible candidates that range from 50% to 90%.

18) Do I have to be based in SOCHARA, Bangalore for the duration of the

You will be required to be at SOCHARA, Bangalore for the orientation, duration of which will be 5 days, scheduled in the 1 st or 2 nd week of May 2023. The accommodation and food cost for the orientation in Bangalore will be borne by SOCHARA.
There will be 2 nd in-person session held in Bangalore at the end of the programme. We will announce the dates for it well in advance for the Fellows to plan.

19) I cannot travel to Bangalore for orientation. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply for the programme. We encourage you to attend the orientation
at SOCHARA, Bangalore as it will help to set the pace of the programme. However, for
unavoidable reasons you can attend the orientation online.

20) Can I discontinue the programme at any time?
We encourage you to apply only if you are sure of being a part of this programme for one
year. We acknowledge that unanticipated circumstances can occur which may force you to take a break or discontinue. We will provide as much support as possible in that situation in
order to make it possible for you to complete the programme.

21) What kind of support will be provided after the programme?
To continue the learning process, mechanisms are in place for networking between
participants, and between participants and SOCHARA. These include alumni e-groups,
circulation of newsletters, background papers, reflections, research outputs, etc. In addition, the participants can keep in touch with SOCHARA team members, society members of SOCHARA, friends and associates who are located in different parts of the country and the world.
There is also a need for continuing learning and strengthening the knowledge, attitudes and skills developed during the programme. An alumni support will be formed to mentor alumni in their community health work.

22) Does one receive certificate after completion of the programme?
Yes, we award a certificate on successful completion of the programme.

23) How do I apply?
You can apply online through the Google Form, along with which you will need to upload
the statement of purpose (SOP), latest CV and recommendation letter from your current
employer (if applicable).


24) How to write a Statement of Purpose (SoP)?
A SoP is an essay which mentions who you are, your educational background, work experience.
Importantly it must explain your intent to do the programme and, how will it benefit you and the work you do. It should be a compelling document and help the selection committee to get an idea of you as a person and your intent to do this programme. Please note that it must be a minimum of 600 and a maximum of 1000 words (not counting spaces). Overall, it must be a sincere document written by the applicant in simple language. If necessary, you can contact theCHLP-2023 core team for clarification or support to write the SoP.

25) What is the importance of the SoP?
Your SoP is an important document. Suitably of the applicant is largely based on the SoP. We recommend that you spend ample time in preparing one.

26) How do I know if I have been selected?
All applications sent to SOCHARA go through a screening process. We will get back to you
immediately after your application has been screened. If your name is short listed, you will
need to attend an interview, which will happen virtually. We will communicate the final selection shortly thereafter.

27) Whom do I contact for more information?
Please write to
You can call us on- +91- 8105218446