Heads the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), an interagency initiative overseen by USAID in conjunction with the CDC that works to eradicate malaria.
Raj Panjabi is President Biden’s appointee to be the Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense on the White House National Security Council and Special Assistant to the President.
Born in Liberia, itself a Malaria-endemic country, Dr. Panjabi came to America in his childhood as a refugee. Panjabi has been an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2011.
On Development: In a social media post celebrating his appointment to PMI Coordinator, Dr. Panjabi writes, “As a doctor and public health professional that has cared for patients alongside local health workers, Ministry of Health officials and staff at the President’s Malaria Initiative, US Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and our partners, I’ve been inspired by how they’ve responded to fight malaria, one of the oldest and deadliest pandemics, and saved lives around the world.” (source)
On Vaccine Equality: Tweeting in response to an NPR story on the unavailability of COVID-19 vaccines to developing nations, Raj Panjabi states “After getting my vaccine in Boston, I spoke to Liberia’s former President Sirleaf, whom I advise [for] The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response evaluating (the) COVID-19 response. I felt shame and outrage that she, grandmother of 12, and elders like her across Africa may not get vaccinated until 2022 (or) 2023.” (source)
On Global Health: In a TED Talk chronicling his founding of the Last Mile Health Initiative, Dr. Panjabi explains, “One billion people live in the world’s most remote communities and despite the advances we’ve made in modern medicine and technology, our innovations are not reaching the last mile. These communities have been left behind because they’ve been thought too hard to reach and too difficult to serve.” (source)
On the COVID-19 Pandemic: In an interview with Time Magazine for the Time 100 issue following the initial outbreak of COVID-19, Panjabi says, “One of the opportunities I think the United States has, as well as other countries, is to really break this false narrative that’s been created, that we need to save lives or save jobs. We can actually create jobs and save lives.” (source)