Marking India’s milestone in the global health sector, renowned paediatrician and a clinical scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan was appointed the deputy director general of programmes (DDP) of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Deemed the second highest position at the UN agency, she will be working under Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. She is the first Indian to hold one of the highest ranks in the WHO.
Here’s all you need to know Dr Soumya Swaminathan:
- The 58-year-old paediatrician and clinical scientist has been the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body of biomedical research in the country, for over two years now.
- Dr Soumya is the daughter of the ‘father of Green Revolution in India’ MS Swaminathan, a renowned geneticist and Indian educationalist Mina Swaminathan.
- She completed her M.B.B.S. from Armed Forces Medical College (India) and M.D. from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, along with a Diplomate of National Board from National Board of Examinations.
- She also held Post Doctoral Medical Fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
- Acclaimed for her research on Tuberculosis, she served as the director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai.
- She served on several WHO and global advisory bodies and committees, including the WHO expert panel to review global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, the strategic and technical advisory group of the global TB department at the WHO, and co-chair of the Lancet Commission on TB.
- From 2009 to 2011, she served as the coordinator of the Unicef/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva.
- She has been serving as the Secretary of the Department of Health Research for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- She has over 250 peer-reviewed publications to her credit.
- Her most notable awards include:
- Dr Keya Lahiri Gold Medal for best paper presented, XI National Pediatric Pulmonary Conference in 1999
- The Indian Council of Medical Research Kshanika Oration Award in 2008
- A Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Association of Applied Microbiologists in 2011
- The Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Award in 2012
- The AstraZeneca research endowment award, NIPER in 2016