Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


December 12, 2013

Personal perspective

Andover woman tackles health issues in India


The challenge of bringing biomaterials to India comes down to a matter of supply and demand — a high supply of materials available, but with a seemingly anemic level of demand, she said.

“There are a lot of people living under a couple dollars a day,” Eswarappa said. “If some of these things were to be taken seriously and tested out there, it could lead to better health outcomes for a lot of the population that isn’t able to access great health care now or can’t afford it.”

Eswarappa, whose parents are from India, attended Andover public schools through eighth grade before enrolling at Phillips, where she traveled to India as part of the school’s then-young Niswarth program.

The 2008 Phillips graduate then went on to Harvard, where she completed much of her research into biomaterials before earning her undergraduate degree with honors in biomedical sciences and engineering in 2012.

“Naturally Based Biomaterials and Therapeutics” came at the encouragement of the assistant director of biomedical engineering at Harvard, who urged her to publish her research and connected her with academic publisher Spring Science+Business Media.

Eswarappa, who is now working to bridge education and healthcare at the Parthenon Group, a consulting firm in Boston, said while a lot of potential exists in the field, “there’s a tremendous amount of testing and proof to be done.”

She credits the community she came from as the reason why she has been so successful. But even then, being successful is something she doesn’t necessarily admit to.

“I’ve been fortunate in a lot of ways, and I’ve had a lot of opportunities,” she said. “Other people, had they been in similar circumstances, they could have done similar things. I don’t think by any means that I’m really a standout.”

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