Dr. Janhavi Nilekani, PhD
Founder & Chairperson
Dr. Janhavi Nilekani is an applied microeconomist, a women’s empowerment activist, a health systems reformer, an effective philanthropist, a mother, a partner, a daughter, and more.
She is the Founder and Chairperson of Aastrika Midwifery Centre and the Founder and Chairperson of AastarUrmika Health Systems (AUHS). At AUHS, she uses her background in academic research, public policy, and public health, and strives to instigate India-wide improvements in the quality of maternal healthcare. Dr. Janhavi is a 2018 alumna of Harvard where she completed her PhD in Public Policy, and holds a 2010 BA, cum laude, in Economics and International Studies from Yale.
Janhavi’s personal experience with pregnancy in India was deeply disappointing and disempowering. After a lengthy quest for evidence-based care in Bangalore, she eventually travelled to Sanctum, Hyderabad, to birth with midwife Dr. Vijaya Krishnan, who has written about Janhavi’s birth here.
Aastrika Midwifery Centre is the realization of Janhavi’s dream of establishing a birth centre in Bangalore that would offer everything she wanted during her pregnancy – ethical, evidence-based care, respectful and informed shared-decision making, and a team that supports mothers through every stage of their journey into motherhood.
Janhavi remembers her unmedicated birth experience as the best day of her life. She hopes every mother at Aastrika Midwifery Centre will remember their birth experiences the way Janhavi remembers her own – with pride, joy, and a sense of fulfilment.
Her profile photo was taken 21 hours after her son Tanush was born.