Suchi Bansal

2019 Winner

Position: Senior Researcher
Organization: Ci3 at the University of Chicago
Current Location: United States, North America

Master’s of Public Health from Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor’s in Economics and International Relations
Awards Received:


Richter Memorial Scholarship
Awarding Organization:
Knox College
Date Awarded:
August 1, 1998

“Suchi’s research on the impact of storytelling, games, and human-centered design is redefining the way in which researchers partner with youth to design, test, and implement international sexual and reproductive health interventions.

Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH, Founder and Faculty Director at Ci3 at the University of Chicago

Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I lead the Kissa Kahani intervention at Ci3 that uses innovative methods like games, graphic novels, digital storytelling, and human-centered design to improve the sexual and reproductive health of youth in India. My ability to build trust among Indian youth resulted in the creation of 29 digital stories that ultimately shaped Kissa Kahani’s unique approach and content. I cultivated meaningful international partnerships that enabled the development of a cutting-edge transmedia program to meet the needs that local youth themselves expressed in their stories. And, my research leadership is helping build the evidence base around the impact of stories and storytelling on youth sexual and reproductive health knowledge and behaviors, and increasing meaningful youth participation.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Growing up in India, I was confronted early on with the realities of not being able to exercise one’s sexual and reproductive rights. My friends and family members were afraid to disclose their sexual identity and many of them suffered from the lack of youth-friendly abortion services. Later on, I learned how young people in other countries are forced to lead similar lives. I have always been inspired by these experiences and by the belief that all people should have equal rights.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

My ability to seamlessly develop, test, and implement creative programs while navigating both the Indian and U.S. context has allowed the Kissa Kahani study to flourish. My efforts to directly involve youth in the study’s research activities through games and storytelling, and my leadership in incorporating their input into our evidence-based intervention is changing the way young people learn about sexual and reproductive health and family planning.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work?

I would like to build an online platform that connects young researchers to foster greater learning and information sharing on family planning and sexual and reproductive health topics.

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work