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U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy Among 4 South Asian Americans Elected to the National Academy of Medicine

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy Among 4 South Asian Americans Elected to the National Academy of Medicine

  • They are part of 100 members recognized for their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy is among 100 members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Joining Murthy are three other South Asian Americans – Vamsi K. Mootha, Anil Kumar Sood and Anita K.M. Zaidi. 

“It is my privilege to welcome this extraordinary class of new members,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau in a press release. “Their contributions to health and medicine are unmatched – they’ve made groundbreaking discoveries, taken bold action against social inequities, and led the response to some of the greatest public health challenges of our time.”

Noting that this is NAM’s “most diverse class of new members to date,” Dzau said it is “composed of approximately 50 percent women and 50 percent racial and ethnic minorities, and added that “this class represents many identities and experiences – all of which are absolute.” 

The newly elected members bring NAM’s total membership to more than 2,200 and the number of international members to approximately 172.

Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th and 21st surgeon general was elected “for being the first person to be nominated twice as surgeon general of the U.S., and leading the national response to some of America’s greatest public health challenges: the Ebola and Zika viruses, the opioid crisis, an epidemic of stress and loneliness, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Anita K.M. Zaidi is president, gender equality; and director of vaccine development and surveillance and of enteric and diarrheal diseases, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Pakistani American was selected for her “global leadership in pediatric infectious disease research and capacity development relevant to improving newborn and child survival in developing countries.”

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Anil Kumar Sood made it to the coveted organization “for discovering the mechanistic basis of chronic stress on cancer, and devising and implementing a paradigm-shifting surgical algorithm for advanced ovarian cancer, dramatically increasing complete resection rates.” Sood is professor and vice-chair for translational research, department of gynecologic oncology and reproductive medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He played a pivotal role in the research of tumor-IL6 in causing paraneoplastic thrombocytosis. He also developed the first RNAi therapeutics and translated multiple new drugs from lab to clinic. 

Vamsi K. Mootha, professor of systems biology, Harvard Medical School was elected “for transforming the field of mitochondrial biology by creatively combining modern genomics with classical bioenergetics.” He is also an investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Established in 1970, NAM is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. 

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