contact us: info@vineeta.org

"A cure for strife exists. Itís called education."
Vineeta Rastogi

With her energy, intellect, commitment, and humanity, Vineeta was an integral part of the school.  As a student, she was a leader who inspired her peers with her activism to help improve the health outcomes of people in distant countries.  After graduation, her professionalism and continued pursuit of knowledge with which she could help others -- while fighting a personal battle with cancer --is a testament to her strength and selflessness.
Cassandra A. Simmons, PhD, Former Dean for Students, Harvard School of Public Health


The Harvard School of Public Health has generously matched the funds that were initially raised towards the Vineeta Rastogi Memorial Scholarship fund.  We are proud to announce that the first Vineeta Rastogi Traveling Fellows will be awarded scholarships in 2008 . 

We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Harvard School of Public Health, and to Tamara Tiska in particular for her tireless dedication to making Vinny's dream a permanent reality.


The Memorial Scholarship Fund will support a Harvard School of Public Health student traveling to a field research site for a specific project or doctoral research, presentation at a conference, and other academic meetings so students can benefit from an exposure to hands-on learning.  Vineeta profited tremendously from this and it opened her mind and infected her with the feeling of need of the people and the power to help.  She could see the problems outside the classroom.

The scholarship will be awarded to students whose work exemplifies the interests and values of Vineeta Rastogi.   A special emphasis will be given to those students who are attempting to study an area that they originally had some context to, in a way similar to Vineetaís abortive trip to India in 1994 to gather data for her Ph.D.  Also, work that would benefit local communities beyond studying will have a priority over other types of work.


Vineeta Rastogi was an exceptional student at the Harvard School of Public Health.  She was the co-chair of her class, the Schweitzer Fellow, Schweitzer Award winner, APHA\CDC fellow, and United Nations representative to the elections in Cambodia.  She also had a wealth of friends among fellow students, faculty and staff. 

During her emotional commencement speech in 1994, Vinny alluded to her battle with cancer, which she then still hoped to win.  But she was quick to add: "How much worse this would have been had I known the reason for my pain was simply my color, my religion, my race or my tribe.  Compared to the bigots, drunken with hate, who reside in the hills of Sarajevo, the jungles of Rwanda, the swamps of Sudan, or sidewalks of abortion clinics, cancer seems almost benign." 

Vinny always carried a torch for the less fortunate . . . even when she became one of them.  At her passing, eight years ago, her failing hand tossed us that torch.  Her work, her ideals, her hopes are in our hands now. 

One very real way that we can keep her flame alive is with the Vineeta Rastogi Memorial Fund.  It represents a covenant with Vinny.  During her last weeks, we discussed the idea of this fund and a separate foundation. They were comfort to her suffering.  She did not want to die in vain.  She wanted to be remembered and for her memory to have a positive impact on others. 

Her vision of an endowed travel fellowship will do this.  The Harvard School of Public Health will annually disperse enough money to a student to travel to their area of study.  This hands-on learning was prized by Vinny, who traveled to Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, Egypt, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, England, Switzerland, France, Italy and her native India, all during her years at Harvard, all related to her study and all tremendously rewarding. 

We feel that her life's message and mission will inspire future generations of public health specialists, who, in receiving this award, will learn about Vinny each year.  The money will help an immediate need for a struggling student. Even more, Vinny's story will have a lasting effect on the recipient, one that no amount of money could have.

The scholarship committee is headed by Harvey Fineberg and by the Chairman of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. Lachlan Forrow.

For additional information, please contact:
Tamara Tiska,
Assistant Director for Development Planning,
Harvard School of Public Health.
Phone: 617-384-8981.
Email: ttiska@hsph.harvard.edu

Andrew Yakoobian
Donor Relations Officer,
Harvard School of Public Health
Phone: 617-998-1059
Email: AYAKOOBI@hsph.harvard.edu


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