News : 2016 : April

Catching up with: Devi Lalita Sridhar, B.S. ’03, M.A. ’05, M.Phil. ’05, Ph.D. ’07

Devi Sridhar is a professor and Chair in Global Public Health at University of Edinburgh Medical School. She recently co-authored a book with Chelsea Clinton, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, which will be out this summer. Two years ago, the pair published a review on overseeing global health in the International Monetary Fund’s Finance and Development magazine. She is also a long-time collaborator with UM President Julio Frenk.

1) What have you been doing since medical school?

I graduated partly through the six-year honors program with a BS degree and have been doing my masters, Ph.D. and working as an associate professor in Oxford. I never planned to leave Miami but an advisor at UM encouraged me to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship, which took me to England, and then Germany, and now Scotland. My work is focused in three areas: international health organizations, financing of global public health, and developing better tools for priority-setting. I also teach classes to both medical students and public health graduate students on investing in global health, and on global health policy.

2) What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Professionally, I am particularly proud of my Ph.D. work on malnutrition in India which involved extensive fieldwork in two slums in New Delhi and in a rural village in Tamil Nadu. I also am firmly committed to the non-governmental organization Save the Children as a board member.

3) Tell us a little about the review in the International Monetary Fund’s Finance and Development magazine, and how the opportunity to co-author the paper with Chelsea Clinton came about.

The study focuses on how the Ebola outbreak highlights the need for global cooperation in health, and that government cannot act in isolation when dealing with the spread of infectious diseases. Chelsea and I were talking about how poorly managed the early response to Ebola was and from that fleshed out an analysis of the significant challenges and opportunities ahead of us. We are currently finishing a book Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? with Oxford University Press, which looks at these issues in even more detail.

4) What are your thoughts on what you hope the article accomplishes?

Given that the magazine is read by ministries of finance and not just a medical audience, we hope it leads to more awareness and knowledge related to global cooperation on health concerns and what needs to change in order to improve health for all people.

5) Any other well-known articles or publications?

My first book, The Battle Against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance, and the World Bank, was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press. I also had a Lancet paper in 2015 on the Global Response to Ebola, which was covered by the New York Times and Washington Post, and a New England Journal of Medicine paper on global health law in 2014.

6) Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fellow alumni?

I’ve been working with UM’s new President Julio Frenk for over a decade, and our latest paper was published in the British Medical Journal on the World Health Organization, titled Global rules for global health: why we need an independent, impartial WHO. President Frenk is hugely important to the story of global health because of his significant work in Mexico, at the World Health Organization and at Harvard.

To see the full article Overseeing Global Health, click here.

And her new book is available here.