A renowned physician and entrepreneur, the Honorable Raj Panjabi served in the Biden-Harris Administration from February 2021 to August 2023, most recently as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the White House National Security Council where he worked to execute federal policy to protect America and the world from infectious disease threats. He helped lead the U.S. strategy for the largest global vaccination campaign in history against COVID-19 and responses to outbreaks of influenza, MPOX, ebola, polio and Marburg. He played a lead role in implementing the National Biodefense Strategy, American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, President’s Bioeconomy Executive Order, and the PREVENT Pandemics Act, laying the foundation for a new White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy. Globally, Panjabi played a lead role in implementing the U.S. Global Health Security Act, scaling U.S. partnerships to over 50 countries, developing the President’s COVID-19 and health security initiatives with the G7 and G20, and coordinating U.S. policy on the World Bank’s Pandemic Fund, World Health Organization’s Pandemic Accord and the United Nations’ Biological Weapons Convention.
Previously, Panjabi was appointed by President Biden as the President’s Malaria Coordinator, leading the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), implemented by U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also previously served as Advisor to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her role as co-chair with Former Prime Minister Helen Clark of the World Health Organization’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Panjabi is Co-Founder and President Emeritus at Last Mile Health. Between 2007-2021, he served as CEO of Last Mile Health, a non-profit organization that works to save lives in the world’s most remote communities. Panjabi is Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Emerson Collective, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital Division of Global Health Equity. Between 2019-21, he served on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Social Innovation and Change Initiative.
Panjabi was named by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2016 and one of the 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2018. In 2015 and 2017, he was listed in the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune. He is a recipient of the 2017 TED Prize, the Clinton Global Citizen Award for leadership in response to the West Africa Ebola epidemic, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was named a Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Economic Forum. In 2017, President Sirleaf and the Government of Liberia recognized Panjabi with Distinction of Knight Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers, one of the country’s highest civilian honors. In 2023, he received the Dean’s Medal, the highest recognition the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health confers on public health leaders.
Panjabi received an M.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, trained in internal medicine and as a clinical fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and received a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University as a Sommer Scholar. His parents migrated from India to Liberia, where he was born and raised. After civil war broke out in Liberia in 1989, Panjabi and his family fled and were resettled in the United States of America.