Institute for Rural Health Studies

About us

Institute for Rural Health Studies (IRHS) was established in 1981 by Dr Patricia Bidinger (Pat) and Mrs. Bhavani Nag in Hyderabad to do research on the nature and cause of rural health problems. Their initial research examined the agricultural and socio-economic determinants of health and nutrition in rural Indian villagers. The research covered inputs including income, expenditure, harvest data, labor force participation as well as health and nutrition parameters. During interaction with the villagers it became evident to Pat and Bhavani that access to healthcare was minimal.

One day a woman came to them saying, “Amma, we don’t mind answering all your questions about how many hours we work in the fields or showing you how much we eat or letting you examine our bodies, but Amma, why don’t you do something useful. The baby is sick.

This was the turning point in their careers and they decided to provide healthcare. Today, IRHS is known more for its healthcare provision and helping rural people to access healthcare than research. IRHS provides both curative and preventive healthcare as well as helping villagers access secondary and tertiary level facilities.

Dr. P. D Bidinger gained an early Ashoka fellow (1991) with the Travellers' Aid for the Sick project based in Hyderabad's central bus terminal. In 2003 Dr. P. D. Bidinger won the citizen based investment competition for two charitable pharmacies she set up and managed at the Nizam's Institute for Medical Sciences (NIMS); a semi autonomous hospital in Hyderabad. Profits made were donated to the IRHS and to patients who could not afford treatment at NIMS.