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Professor Mala Rao OBE

Professor Mala Rao OBE MSc MBBS FFPH PhD Hon FFSRH HonFSoPHE is Senior Clinical Fellow at Imperial College London, Medical Adviser to NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy and Vice Chair of WaterAid UK. Her career has spanned public health practice, policy and research and her proudest achievements have been in workforce development for improving health, strengthening health systems and environmental health. Her research focuses on policy relevant issues and has influenced health strategies benefitting millions of people in the UK and globally.

Mala has served as Head of Public Health Workforce and Capacity at the Department of Health for England and led several ground breaking workforce development innovations in the UK and overseas. She was Founder Director of Public Health Foundation of India's first Institute of Public Health, under the aegis of the UK Global Health Strategy and in three years (2008-11), developed it into an organisation providing a vast portfolio of academic programmes and policy support to Government. She is committed to showcasing NHS values and best practice overseas, whilst also strengthening shared learning between England and the developing countries. Drawing on the NHS model, and supported by UK
Government, she led India's first primary care pilot in 2014 to underpin its universal healthcare plan. The model has generated global interest. She also led the first quasi-experimental evaluation of India's first health financing innovation and has advised on health care reforms in some of the poorest states in the country, and more recently, in other WHO regions. She was included in the 2019 list of the 100 most influential people in UK India relations.

Deeply committed to social justice, Mala is a recognised champion of climate change action, sustainable development and equality.

She is the recipient of a number of honours and was awarded an OBE in 2013, for her outstanding contribution to public health in the UK and overseas.