- aj Chetty and Siddhartha Mukherjee among 38 naturalized citizens honored for their role as COVID-19 responders.
Two Indian Americans are among Carnegie Corporation’s list of Great Immigrants, “who have enriched and strengthened our nation and our democracy through their contributions and actions.” Among the 38 naturalized citizens honored this year are Harvard professor and economist Raj Chetty and author and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee. This year, the corporation is highlighting the work “of millions of immigrants who are playing an essential role in the global health crisis as COVID-19 responders.”
Overall, the 2020 Great Immigrants represent 35 countries of origin and a wide range of contributions to American life, from human rights and computer science to art, business, education, health care, journalism, music, politics, religion, research, and sports.
Each Fourth of July since 2006, the philanthropic foundation has invited Americans to celebrate these exemplary individuals by participating in its online tribute “Great Immigrants, Great Americans.”
Chetty, the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, has helped launch a resource to monitor the real-time economic impact of COVID-19 on people, businesses, and communities across the United States. Carnegie Corporation says Chetty’s tool “enables policymakers to make evidence-based decisions that balance vital public health priorities with the economic needs of their communities.”
Chetty came to the United States at the age 9, with his sister, his mother, a pediatrics professor, and his father, an economics professor. After earning his PhD from Harvard at 23, Chetty joined the faculties at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. He then went back to his alma mater, becoming one of the youngest professors to be granted tenure in Harvard’s history. Chetty’s groundbreaking research has earned him numerous honors including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 2013. Chetty has been named both a MacArthur Fellow (2012) and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (2019).
At Harvard, Chetty directs Opportunity Insights, a research lab that aims to identify barriers to economic and social mobility and develop scalable policy solutions to overcome them. He has developed the Opportunity Atlas, an interactive tool that — tracking data for 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s from every census tract in the U.S. — seeks to answer the question: “Which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty?”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mukherjee, a noted biologist, oncologist and author, has used his gifts as a science communicator to educate the public about the virus through essays, in media interviews, at public forums, and via his social media accounts. The Carnegie Corporation says “Mukherjee has stressed the importance of following guidelines to social distance, to wear masks, and to self-isolate when necessary.” In May, Mukherjee was selected by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the 15-member blue-ribbon commission focusing on improving telehealth and broadband access in response to the public health crisis.
Emperor of All Maladies
Mukherjee, was born in New Delhi into a Bengali family. Mukherjee’s father rose from poverty to become an executive with Mitsubishi, and his mother was a teacher.
He came to the U.S. to study biology, and completed his bachelor of science in 1993 at Stanford University. He was a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford, where he received his D.Phil in immunology. He earned his MD at Harvard Medical School and trained as an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Mukherjee is author of several acclaimed books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” (2010). Since 2009, he has served on the faculty of Columbia University, where he is associate professor of medicine and a practicing physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Mukherjee and his team at Columbia — Mukherjee Lab — research the biology of normal and malignant blood development, focusing on diseases such as leukemia.
In 2014, Mukherjee was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors.
Mukherjee has since written two books, “The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from an Uncertain Science” (2015), and “The Gene: An Intimate History” (2016), which, like his first book, was adapted into a documentary by Ken Burns.