About UsOur Team Naveen Rao, MD

As Senior Vice President for Health Initiative and Senior Advisor to the President, Dr. Naveen Rao leads a team focused on putting new digital tools in the hands of community health providers to reduce child and maternal deaths and better protect against the rapidly growing burden of non-communicable diseases and pandemic threats. As senior advisor to the Foundation’s president, Dr. Rao provides strategic counsel and executive engagement to help advance the Foundation’s mission.

For decades, Dr. Rao has been a leader in equipping health care providers with the skills, tools, and technologies they need to succeed. He has held numerous leadership positions at Merck & Co., Inc. and was previously Head of Medical Affairs for Merck’s Asia-Pacific region and Managing Director of Merck’s subsidiary in India. Most recently lead for Merck for Mothers, his work reached and empowered over 6 million women, improving outcomes for safe pregnancies and healthy deliveries around the world. In that role, he is responsible for leveraging the company’s science and business expertise to accelerate progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and advancing the company’s mission to improve and save lives.

Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Rao was Associate Director of the Department of Medicine at Lower Manhattan Hospital (formerly Beekman Downtown Hospital) in New York City and practiced medicine in New York for 10 years prior to joining Merck. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, a member of the Board of Directors of GBC Health and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Health and Healthcare. He is also the Private Sector representative on the Investors Group of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children, and adolescents globally.


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