Husband: Ajit Yadav Age: 61Years Hometown: Chennai, India
Some Lesser Known Facts About Soumya Swaminathan
- Saumya Swaminathan is the Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization. She is also a Pediatrician and Clinical Scientist who is known for her research in tuberculosis and HIV.
- Soumya grew up in a family and environment where education and science mainly were the main pillars. Her family lived in the campus of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. C.V. Raman and Vikram Sarabhai were their frequent home guest.
- Soumya’s father, Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, is known as the father of Green Revolution. He is the person behind the introduction and further development of high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice. He also started a research foundation in Chennai named M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. Soumya’s sister Dr Madhura Swaminathan is the Chairperson of the foundation.
Soumya Swaminathan standing in front of her father’s research foundation
- Soumya during her childhood days, used to visit her father’s lab and experimental wheat field, and that is what created a passion in her to become a medical researcher.
- According to Soumya, she knew a PhD thesis from the age of five, as during her childhood days, many PhD students would come to her home to discuss work with her father.
- Soumya once said that, she wanted to become a Veterinarian, as she was fond of animals but all her friends were preparing for the medical entrance exam, so she also started preparing for the same.
- Meena Swaminathan mother of Soumya Swaminathan is an Indian educationist in the field of preschool education who wrote several books on the subject of drama and child development.
- After completing MBBS Soumya went to California to pursue higher studies.
- In 1992, Soumya returned back to India and joined the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis as a coordinator and later, she became the director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis.
- For almost eighteen years Soumya continued the research in tuberculosis and HIV.
- As a researcher at the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai, she would travel to the homes of her poor patients who were suffering from Tuberculosis. She even looked after the orphaned children of her patients. She often helped the underserved population and raised funds to get antiretroviral drugs to the families affected by the HIV epidemic.
- Soumya started a TB Zero City Project in Chennai that aimed to create Islands of elimination working with the local governments, institutions, and grassroots associations for treating the TB infection.
- Soumya worked for many years with Dr P R Narayanan, who was the Director of the Tuberculosis Research Centre.
- Later in 2009, Soumya became the coordinator of the UNICEF and the WHO special programme for research and training in tropical diseases in Geneva.
- After serving as the Director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, in 2015 she became the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as the second woman to lead the institution overseeing 30 research institutions.
- Soumya participated in various press briefings on the Covid 19 pandemic after being appointed as the Chief Scientist of WHO, in 2019.
- In 2021, Swaminathan was also appointed to the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP), an expert group chaired by Patrick Vallance to advise the presidency held by the government of Prime Minister Boris Jhonson.
- Soumya Swaminathan often visits various schools and colleges for educational talks.