Manickam Ponnaiah serves as a core faculty member of the India Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) at the ICMR School of Public Health of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and leads the division of Online Courses. He is a graduate physician in the Siddha system of medicine, one of the India’s traditional medical systems, the other being Ayurveda. He completed a master’s degree and doctorate in epidemiology. He has served as a faculty member and mentor in the India FETP since its inception in 2001.
He has been contributing to the FETP concept of “competency-based, learning-by-doing” through multiple types of learning-teaching-training opportunities. He supports the development of curriculum materials for India FETP including the writing of India-based field epidemiology case studies. He is passionate about building lifetime mentor-mentee relationships respecting the human dimensions of adult learning, professional values and the mentee’s health system context.
Since 2016, Manickam has been leading the ICMR-NIE group on designing, conducting, and running Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in health research. One of the flagship MOOCs is on research methods mandated by India’s medical education authority for medical postgraduates and their teachers.
Besides teaching, training and mentoring in field epidemiology, his core areas of interest are outbreak science, public health preparedness and surveillance during mass gatherings, chemotherapeutic trials for leprosy and research in traditional medicine.