Dr Tazeen H Jafar

Position:  Professor

Affiliation:  Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

Podcast:  Listen to an ISH Podcast with Dr Tazeen Jafar.

What is your role at your work?

Chief investigator of multi-country global health trials on hypertension care, mentoring PhD and Masters students and medical students.

How did you get interested in your career path?

I became interested in nephrology as a medical student as involved most logical thinking.
My early career project was on BP reduction in patients with kidney disease and then my expanded my interests to broader population level and also trained in public health.

What are you most proud of in your career or otherwise?

Demonstrating strong scientific evidence of models of hypertension care (esp COBRA-BPS) tailored to the existing health care infrastructure in resource constrained settings.

What important career challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

Working in LMIC setting with limited infrastructure, and there was limited funding for NCD research. I had to give more time to every aspect of the research and work on shoe-string budgets. But I also ensured that I recruit an excellent team, train and retain them. And I leveraged funding opportunities through a variety of schemes including fellowships for trainees which then served dual purpose and became a win-win.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more assertive

Highlight your most significant research contributions and publications (3-5) – if relevant to you.

Jafar TH, Gandhi M, de Silva HA, Jehan I, Naheed A, Finkelstein EA, Turner EL, Morisky D, Kasturiratne A, Khan AH, Clemens JD, Ebrahim S, Assam PN, Feng L; COBRA-BPS Study Group. A Community-Based Intervention for Managing Hypertension in Rural South Asia. N Engl J Med. 2020

Misra A, Tandon N, Ebrahim S, Sattar N, Alam D, Shrivastava U, Narayan KM and Jafar TH. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease in South Asia: current status and future directions. BMJ 2017

Jafar TH, Haaland BA, Rahman A, Razzak JA, Bilger M, Naghavi M, Mokdad AH and Hyder AA. Non-communicable diseases and injuries in Pakistan: strategic priorities. Lancet. 2013; 381:2281-90

Jafar TH, Islam M, Bux R, Poulter N, Hatcher J, Chaturvedi N, Ebrahim S and Cosgrove P. Cost-effectiveness of community-based strategies for blood pressure control in a low-income developing country: findings from a cluster-randomized, factorial-controlled trial. Circulation. 2011; 124:1615-25

Jafar TH, Hatcher J, Poulter N, Islam M, Hashmi S, Qadri Z, Bux R, Khan A, Jafary FH, Hameed A, Khan A, Badruddin SH and Chaturvedi N. Community-based interventions to promote blood pressure control in a developing country: a cluster randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2009; 151:593-601

Have you had any significant career mentors? If yes, please provide further details.

My early career mentor has been Professor Andrew Levey at Tufts University in Boston. He had the most profound role in my training and also inspired me to pursue a primarily research-led career.

My senior collaborator Nish Chaturvedi, an outstanding epidemiologist at Imperial and now at UCL. I value her support especially the during the initial years when I was establishing the research program in Pakistan.

How can we support the next generation of women scientists?

  • Making the work-environment and policies more women-friendly.
  • Show-case women in STEM.
  • Make organizations accountable for why women have not been given more visibility or promoted to senior positions.