Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action

Community Health Learning Programme (CHLP) 2021

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, 360 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 April 2021 adds on to the understanding of impact of COVID-19 on communities and equip the participants to build appropriate strategies to tackle the emerging challenges. Duration of the programme is 12 months with 30 learning modules delivered through live online sessions and a community-based 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

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

Ameer Khan- Health Activist

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

Dr. Mani Kalliath- Former Executive Director at Basic Needs of India, Community Mental Health Activist

Dr Maya Mascarenhas- Consultant Trainer, NHSRC, GOI

Dr. Mohan Isaac- Professor of Psychiatry, University of Western Australia, Former HOD, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore.

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

Prahalad I M- Community Health Practitioner on Water and Sanitation

Prasanna Saligram- Community Health Practitioner

Dr. Ramani Atkuri- Independent Public Health Physician

Dr. Ravi D'Souza- Community Health Physician

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

Dr. S K Ghosh- Entomologist, Former Senior Scientist Group Lead at ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, Bangalore. 

Dr. S. P. Tekur- Community Health Practitioner, Crisis Counsellor

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




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 has this program 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 360 graduates of health, social sciences, humanities, development studies, engineering, management etc. 


5) What are the previous participants doing now?

Previous participants have taken on leadership or senior positions in different organizations in the health sector across India. 


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

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 permission?

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


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 learning.  


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 undergo a week-long orientation 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 three, two-hour online sessions every week. The sessions will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, tentatively scheduled from 3pm to 5pm. The timings may change depending on the availability of the resource persons. Guest lectures/ reflection sessions/ lived experience sessions will be held on Fridays.

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?

Previous CHLPs had group activities but this year since the programme is online, there will not be any group work. 


13) What is the duration of the programme?  

The programme is for one year.  


14) When does the programme begin? 

The programme commences on 5th April, 2021.  


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 spend approximately 10 hours/week for the programme

17) Do I have to be based in SOCHARA, Bangalore for the duration of the programme? 

You will be required to be at SOCHARA, Bangalore for the orientation and later participate in the learning sessions online.  


18) 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.


19) 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


20) 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.  


21) 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). 



22) 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.  


23) Whom do I contact for more information? 

Please write to 

You can call us on- +91- 8105218446