Indian-origin physician Celine Gounder is set to become a part of the United States President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force. Gounder, who is an assistant professor in the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, has Tamil roots. Her father, Dr Raj Natarajan Gounder, hails from Modakurichi village in Erode and he moved to the US and served with Boeing in Seattle for two years after having completed BE in Metallurgy.
The COVID-19 task force consists of 13 members from diverse backgrounds and it has been formed by Biden to shape his “approach to managing” the surge in coronavirus cases and search for a vaccine. Along with Gounder, Indian-origin Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy will also be a part of the task force.
It is an honor and privilege to be called on to serve and support President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. We must care for one another. We must heal. We must unite against COVID. https://t.co/EHbOAPpswc— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) November 9, 2020
According to her LinkedIn bio, Gounder is a practising HIV/infectious diseases specialist and internist, epidemiologist, journalist and filmmaker. Back in 2015, she also spent two months volunteering as an Ebola aid worker in Guinea. She received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, her Master of Science in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her MD from the University of Washington.
Gounder was an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and she is also a post-doctoral fellow in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University. Back in 2016, she was elected a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
While taking to Twitter, Gounder had explained why she continues to retain her caste name as her last name. She said, “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”.
My people in Tamil Nadu, India are very proud: pic.twitter.com/xtFzCFNrdM— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) November 10, 2020
Meanwhile, several Tamil Nadu leaders congratulated Murthy and Gounder on their selection to the COVID-19 task force. Congratulating both, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said that he is “extremely happy”. DMK leader MK Staling also sent his best wishes and said that he is happy to hear her appointment to the crucial task force.
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
Glad to hear about the appointment of @celinegounder to the President-Elect Joe Biden’s National Pandemic Taskforce to combat COVID-19. Happy to hear about the appointment of a woman of Tamil origin to this crucial task force.— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) November 10, 2020
Congratulations & Best wishes. pic.twitter.com/qmMH7gjZQ9