Kamala Harris, Celine Gounder make Tamil Nadu glow


The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is busy lauding its diaspora shining in the United States.

Days after Kamala Harris created history by becoming the first woman, black, Indian-origin Vice President of the United States, Dr Celine R Gounder was named a member of the Covid-19 Advisory Board of President-elect Joe Biden.

Like Harris, Gounder traces her roots to Tamil Nadu. Her father, Raj Natarajan Gounder, from Perumapalayam, reportedly immigrated to the US in the late 1960s and worked at Boeing.

The New Indian Express reported: “Unlike Harris, whose relatives all left Thulasendrapuram decades ago, Celine has visited Perumapalayam several times before establishing a foundation in her father’s name in 2018. The Raj Gounder Foundation supports children’s education and helps the government-run Modakurichi Boys Higher Secondary School where her father studied.”

In Chennai, DMK party president MK Stalin wished Gounder through a Facebook post.

Glad to hear about the appointment of Celine Gounder 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,” the politician wrote.

Congratulations & Best wishes,” Stalin added.

Gounder is a practicing HIV/infectious diseases specialist and internist, epidemiologist, journalist and filmmaker, as per her Linkedin page.

She received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, her MSc in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her MD from the University of Washington.

She was an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post-doctoral fellow in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University. She was elected a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2016.