Epidemiologist in the United States, Dr Celine R Gounder has been named as a member of COVID-19 taskforce of US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday. Gounder’s family is from a village in Tamil Nadu called Perumapalayam in Erode district. Congratulating her for the new position, Tamil Nadu‘s Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami wrote on Twitter, “I’m extremely happy that Celine Gounder and Vivek Murthy (Karnataka origin) have been appointed in the National Pandemic Taskforce of US to combat #COVID19. Both of them have made India proud and I’m very glad to learn that Dr Celine Gounder has a Tamil heritage. My best wishes to both of them.”
I'm extremely happy that @celinegounder & @vivek_murthy have been appointed in the National Pandemic Taskforce of US to combat #COVID19. Both of them have made India proud and I'm very glad to learn that Dr.Celine Gounder has a Tamil heritage. My best wishes to both of them. pic.twitter.com/b6EkrmOKB8
— Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) November 10, 2020
Here are ten things you wanted to know about Celine Gounder:
1.Joe Biden has formed an advisory board, consisting of 13 members from diverse backgrounds, to shape his “approach to managing” the surge in coronavirus cases and to monitor the development in creating a vaccine. The task force will be co-chaired by former US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy, and Gounder will be a valuable member of the task force.
2. Gounder, 43, is currently an assistant professor at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
3. Gounder’s father Raj Natarajan Gounder hailed from Tamil Nadu. He migrated to the United States in the late 1960s and served with Boeing in Seattle for two years after having completed BE in Metallurgy.
4. She is a practising HIV/infectious diseases specialist and internist, according to her LinkedIn bio.
5. Gounder received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. She graduated Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her MD degree is from the University of Washington. She worked as an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post-doctoral fellow in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University.
6. In 2015, Gounder volunteered as an Ebola aid worker in Guinea. She had spent two months there as a practising doctor.
7. She was elected a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2016.
8. Recently, thanking her well-wishers from Tamil Nadu, Gounder in a Twitter thread explained why she continues to keep her caste name as her last name. “My father changed his name to Gounder in the early 1970s before I was born. My name is my name. It’s part of my history and identity, even if some of that history is painful. I didn’t change my name when I got married. I’m not changing it now,” she wrote.
My people in Tamil Nadu, India are very proud: pic.twitter.com/xtFzCFNrdM
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) November 10, 2020
9. She was named one of People Magazine’s 25 Women Changing the World in 2017 owing to her contributions to medicine and public health.
10. Gounder has visited her village in Perumapalayam several times before establishing the Raj Gounder Foundation in her father’s name in 2018. It supports children’s education and helps the government-run Modakurichi Boys Higher Secondary School where her father studied.
Feature Image Credit: Princeton Alumni Weekly