by RADHAKRISHNA NS
Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE took office as chairperson of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on Tuesday (May 26).
She was appointed by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, following an open recruitment process.
With significant government, charitable, and industry experience across a range of sectors, Nebhrajani took charge as NICE’s third permanent chairperson.
She has replaced Sir David Haslam who held the role from 2013 to 2019.
Nebhrajani read Physiological Sciences at the University of Oxford and later became a biomedical scientist before working as a business management consultant.
Nebhrajani was most recently chief executive of Wilton Park, a not-for-profit agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which organises events on key issues including global health and international patient safety.
She has also previously held the post of chair of the Human Tissue Authority and currently holds a non-executive role at the Health Foundation.
Other past positions include director of external affairs for the Medical Research Council and chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities.
Nebhrajani also spent 12 years at the BBC as chief operating officer of BBC Future Media.
She was made an OBE in 2014 for services to medical research.
Nebhrajani said: “I am delighted to be joining NICE at what is a critical juncture for patients, for the health and care system and indeed the country, as we collectively respond to COVID-19 and its aftermath.
“Often one is asked to take on a job that it is interesting; and sometimes to take on a job that is important. Becoming the chairman of NICE at this time is that rare thing – a role that is both supremely important and acutely interesting.
“NICE has had an immensely successful past with a deserved international reputation for rigorous evidence-based analysis….”
In addition to her non-executive work, in 2007-2008 Sharmila was a World Fellow at Yale University with a specialissation in innovation and practical cases in bio-ethics.