Indian health center opens with help from Periclean Scholars

Alumni of the Elon University program produced a film about problems with getting health care to people in India, triggering a series of events that culminated with the August grand opening of a new training center for health workers in one of India’s poorest regions.

The 2,100-square-foot facility was funded by the city of Izmir, Turkey, as part of its bid to host Expo 2020.
A new health care training facility in rural India opened this summer thanks to financial support from officials in a Turkish city who discovered the need for such a building after viewing a film by Elon University alumni.

The Izmir Training Center on the campus of the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in Jamkhed, India, features two large classrooms with the capacity of 50 students each, a residential suite with a living/dining room, and two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which can accommodate up to six trainers or international visitors.

The story of how the training center came to be started more than a year ago with Elon students in the Class of 2012 taking part in the university’s Periclean Scholars program.

The scholars made India the focus of their studies and a video they produced last year titled “Health for All” caught the attention of Turkish officials vying to host Expo 2020. Led by Jack Dodson ’12, “Health for All” was the same theme leaders in Izmir, Turkey, had identified for their city’s bid to the Bureau of International Exhibitions.

Associate Professor Martin Kamela (far right) represented Elon University at the Aug. 27 formal dedication of a new health training center for the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in India.
Turkish officials reached out to Professor Tom Arcaro, director of Project Pericles at the university, and suggested joining forces toward promoting “health for all” around the world.

Their proposal was to let the Expo Bid Committee use footage from the film for part of a presentation last fall on their bid to the Bureau of International Expositions. To demonstrate how committed it was to “health for all,” Izmir’s bid committee then made a $100,000 donation to the Comprehensive Rural Health Project for the new health training facility and to start an endowment for sustained support of the training program.

An official opening took place Aug. 27 with the unveiling of the cornerstone and the ribbon cutting by Dr. Selim Tokmak, the Izmir Expo 2020 vice secretary general, as well as other dignitaries from the bid committee and the Comprehensive Rural Health Project. Associate Professor Martin Kamela represented Elon University at the ceremony.

“As I walk outside my room, and see the shiny white building just around the corner, I am reminded how you were interviewing for the Periclean Scholars and the nervous anticipation of the first classes. The possibilities were tantalizing,” Kamela said afterward in a letter to Periclean Scholars involved with the  project. “It’s a wonderful lesson in how healthy partnerships bring people together for the greater good.”

From left: Selim Tokmak of Izmir Expo 2020; Ravi Arole and Dr. Shobha Arole, the son and daughter of CRHP's founder; and and Serkan Gumus with Izmir Expo 2020.
“Health for All” is in the final stages of development for broader release and will be showcased online this fall alongside a redesigned website. The film, after screening for college classes, has been recut for an online audience, and the website will provide extra resources and donation information for the organizations covered in the film.

Visit for more information.