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Indian-American Vivek Murthy to co-chair Biden’s Covid-19 task force

FILE PHOTO: Vivek Murthy, US surgeon general, left, speaks while participating in a roundtable discussion on the impacts of climate change on public health at Howard University with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIAN-AMERICAN physician and former Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy will co-chair coronavirus task force created by the US president-elect Joe Biden.

Biden will convene a meeting of the body on Monday(9) which will also co-chaired by former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Yale University Associate Professor Marcella Nunez-Smith.

The US became the first nation worldwide since the pandemic began to surpass 10 million coronavirus infections on Sunday(8), as the third wave of the Covid-19 virus surges across the nation. The grim milestone came on the same day as global coronavirus cases exceeded 50 million.

Murthy, 43, was appointed America’s 19th Surgeon General by then president Barack Obama in 2014. He was the youngest ever to hold the office at the age of 37.

He was born in Huddersfield, England, to immigrants from Karnataka, India. In 1978 the family crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland, where his father worked as a district medical officer. When Murthy was three years old, the family relocated to Miami, Florida, where his parents established their medical practice.

Murthy completed his early education in Miami, graduating as valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1994. He then attended Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a bachelor of arts in biochemical sciences.

In 2003, Murthy earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management.

Murthy completed his Internal Medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts where he also led and managed medical care teams as a faculty member.

While a Harvard freshman in 1995, Murthy co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, a nonprofit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in the US and India.

In 1997, he co-founded the Swasthya Community Health Partnership to train women as community health workers in rural India.

He is also a founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of more than 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting high quality affordable care for all.

Murthy is also the co-founder and chairman of TrialNetworks, a cloud-based Clinical Trial Optimization System for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials that improves the quality and efficiency of clinical trials to bring new drugs to market faster and more safely.

During the campaign period, Murthy emerged as one of the top advisors of Biden on public health and coronavirus issues.

In May, the Biden Campaign appointed congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Murthy as co-chairs to the Healthcare Task Force.

At a fund raiser organised by Indian-Americans in September which was addressed by Biden, Murthy had said that Biden is the kind of guy he would like to invite home for dinner.

“Joe Biden is the kind of guy I would love to bring home to have dinner with my mom and dad,” Murthy had said in his opening remarks, adding that some homemade ‘Masala Dosa’ would be served.

Eastern Eye

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