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Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan




  • Soumya Swaminathan is the daughter of “Indian Father of Green Revolution” M. S. Swaminathan and Indian educationalist Mina Swaminathan.
  • Soumya has two siblings, Madhura Swaminathan, a professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and Nithya Swaminathan, a Senior Lecturer in “Gender Analysis” and Development at the University of East Anglia.
  • Swaminathan holds M.B.B.S. from Armed Forces Medical College and M.D. from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 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 co-chair of the Lancet Commission on TB.


  • She started a multi-disciplinary group of clinical, laboratory and behavioural scientists studying various aspects of TB and TB/HIV.
  • Most recently she is part of the TB Zero City Project which aims to create “Islands of elimination” working with local governments, institutions and grassroots associations


  • 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.


  • Soumya Swaminathan was one of the three deputy director-generals and the first Indian to hold the position at WHO
  • She will be now be the chief scientist heading the organisation’s new chief scientist division. Swaminathan will now be chief scientist in a newly created department in the WHO.


  • The Programmes pillar will support WHO’s work on universal health coverage and healthier populations.
  • The Emergencies pillar will be responsible for WHO’s critical health security responsibilities, both in responding to health crises and helping countries prepare for them.
  • The External Relations and Governance pillar will centralise and harmonise WHO’s work on resource mobilisation and communications.
  • The Business Operations pillar will ensure more professionalised delivery of key corporate functions such as budgeting, finance, human resources and supply chain,” WHO said in the statemen