Devi Lalita Sridhar is an American public health researcher, professor, and chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh. She is also the founding director of the university’s Global Health Governance Programme. Sridhar’s research focuses on the effectiveness of public health interventions and the improvement of developmental assistance for health. She has authored several books, including “The Battle Against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance and the World Bank” and “Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?” (co-written with Chelsea Clinton). Sridhar gained recognition for her work in assessing international responses to the West African Ebola virus epidemic and advocating for reforms to improve global outbreak response systems. She has been involved in advising the UK government on COVID-19 policies and serves as a member of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advisory group.
Born in Miami, Florida, in 1984, Sridhar showed an early passion for public health due to her father’s battle with cancer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the age of 18 from the University of Miami and became the youngest recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, she completed an MPhil in medical anthropology and a DPhil in anthropology, focusing on the effectiveness of World Bank initiatives in combatting malnutrition in India. Sridhar declined an offer from Harvard Law School to join the University of Oxford Global Economic Governance Programme. She later held positions at All Souls College, Oxford, and Wolfson College, Oxford.
Sridhar’s work has examined global health governance and the roles of organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. She has emphasized the need for transparent accountability and effective partnerships in global health initiatives. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sridhar has been actively involved in advising governments, including the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advisory group. She has advocated for evidence-based policies, testing, contact tracing, and border controls to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Sridhar’s contributions to public health research and her role as a public health expert during the COVID-19 pandemic have garnered recognition. She received the Chancellor’s Rising Star award from the University of Edinburgh in 2017 and was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021. Sridhar continues to contribute to academic journals and media outlets, sharing her expertise on global health issues and pandemic response.