Improving Health Outcomes for Indian-Americans with former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

Improving Health Outcomes for Indian-Americans with former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

December 6, 2017 | Author: Indiaspora staff

Indiaspora held a conference call for its Indiaspora members on August 16, 2017, on Improving Health Outcomes for Indian-Americans with Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, and fellow Indiaspora members with expertise in the public health sector. Topics included health care issues prevalent in the Indian-American population, including diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, as well as preventive measures, and how to improve outcomes.


  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General
  • Dr. Sunil Wadhwani, Founder Donor of WISH Foundation
  • Dr. Sunny Ramchandani, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Aetna
  • Dr. Pat Basu, Senior VP at Optum, United Health Group
  • Dr. Nalini Saligram, Founder & CEO of Arogya World, a global health non-profit changing the course of chronic disease

Objectives for the hour-long conference call included the following:

  • Provide an overview of the current state of health of the Indian-American population
  • Discuss short- and long-term strategies for increasing awareness and interventions
  • Address issues to be raised during Indiaspora’s upcoming Leadership Forum Sept. 29th – Oct 1st and ways to continue the conversation forward.



Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

Vivek Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. This article highlights a few of his many accomplishments during his tenure: “He helped produce a White House report that said climate change had become a public health crisis, and launched Facing Addiction, the first surgeon general’s report on alcohol, drugs and health.” The first Indian-American to serve as the Nation’s Doctor, he received praise for his handling of gun control, addiction and outbreaks of Ebola and Zika. You can read his statement on his general tenure here.



Pat Basu, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President at Optum, and Executive Leader at United Health Group.

Pat has led as a senior executive in the private, public and PE-backed sectors. A former Stanford Physician and White House Fellow, he currently serves as Senior Vice President at Optum and an Executive Leader at UnitedHealth Group with leadership oversight and accountability over revenue, cost and clinical quality over businesses in the Optum Health division, including OptumCare the largest at-risk provider in the nation with over 20,000 physicians and 7,000 nurses. Previously he helped start Doctor On Demand, the nation’s largest provider of video visits and a covered telehealth benefit for over 30 million Americans. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on State Board of Health in Illinois. He serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Illinois and Stanford Medical Alumni Association. He is a member of the U.S. bilateral leadership councils with Germany, India, Japan and Italy. To read his full bio, please visit here.


Sunny Ramchandani, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Aetna

Sunny currently serves in a number of strategic roles in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at Aetna. A highly decorated naval officer, his extensive experience in government and military medicine has given him a strong background in population health and primary care transformation. Sunny was the first Navy physician to be selected as a White House Fellow and served as the Chief Medical Officer of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP).  The FEHBP serves 8 million beneficiaries, contains over 200 healthcare plans, and has an annual budget of $43 billion. In 2009, Sunny deployed to Afghanistan as the Senior Medical Mentor for the Afghan National Security Forces and led the development of Afghanistan’s first national hospital standards. He graduated from Yale Medical School, Harvard’s school of Public Health, and is a former classmate of Vivek’s. To read more about Sunny, please visit here. In addition, please read his blog for Indiaspora on Indian-Americans who have served here.


Nalini Saligram, Ph.D. Founder & CEO of Arogya World

An Ashoka Fellow, Nalini leads Arogya World (, a global health non-profit committed to changing the course of chronic disease. Arogya designs and implements scalable, science-based diabetes prevention programs in India, taking prevention to where people live and learn and work. Arogya’s team has worked hard to advance workplace health – through 2016, 79 companies with total 2 million employees had become Healthy Workplaces. The organization helps Platinum Healthy Workplaces track and measure business benefits from employee health, is developing case studies of mental health programs that have been successfully deployed in workplaces in India and is adding stress and anxiety reduction messages to myArogya, its mobile App for chronic disease prevention for working Indians.  A tireless advocate for NCD prevention, Nalini leverages public-private partnerships and global platforms to improve the world we live in: Clinton Global Initiative (Commitments in 2011, 2013, 2016), United Nations Every Woman Every Child  (Commitment 2014) etc. is an Ashoka Fellow. To read more about Nalini, please visit here.


Sunil Wadwhani, Founder Donor, Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare, Co-Founder and Ex Chairman of IGATE Corporation

Sunil established Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare (or WISH Foundation), a not for profit, headquartered in New Delhi to support innovations in healthcare with an aim of building an equitable healthcare system, making quality healthcare accessible to the underserved population in priority states. WISH Foundation plays a facilitative role in healthcare ecosystem to ensure need based, high potential innovations and enterprises are identified, supported and scaled up within service delivery system to establish a sustainable healthcare innovation ecosystem. By 2020, WISH Foundation aims to scale up 20 promising healthcare innovations to reach 10 million underserved people with quality healthcare services in partnership with the governments of priority states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha and other high focus states. To read more about Sunil, please visit here.