Dr Soumya Swaminathan was appointed WHO’s first Chief Scientist in March 2019. A paediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes. Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policymaking, building research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva.
She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and has published more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She is an elected Foreign Fellow of the US National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of all three science academies in India. The Science division’s role is to ensure that WHO stays ahead of the curve and leverages advances in science and technology for public health and clinical care, as well as ensuring that the norms, standards and guidelines produced by WHO are scientifically excellent, relevant and timely. Her vision is to ensure that WHO is at the cutting edge of science and is able to translate new knowledge into meaningful impact on population health worldwide.