About UsOur Team Naveen Rao, MD

Dr. Naveen Rao is Senior Vice President of the Health Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation.  He leads a team focused on advancing Precision Public Health, which empowers community health workers with actionable insights from data and analytic tools to accelerate progress on health outcomes in their communities. Launched in September 2019, the Precision Public Health initiative builds off the Foundation’s legacy on Universal Health Coverage to ensure that communities everywhere receive the right care at the right time.

For decades, Dr. Rao has been a leader in equipping health care providers with the skills, tools, and technologies they need to succeed. He comes to the Foundation after a 25-year career with Merck & Co., Inc., where he most recently led Merck for Mothers, the company’s 10-year, $500 million initiative to reduce maternal mortality around the world. In this capacity, Dr. Rao was responsible for leveraging the company’s science and business expertise to accelerate progress in reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and advancing the company’s mission to improve and save lives.

Prior to leading Merck for Mothers, Dr. Rao was Head of Medical Affairs for Merck’s Asia-Pacific region and Managing Director of Merck’s subsidiary in India.  Prior to joining Merck in 1993, he was the Associate Director of the Department of Medicine at Beekman-Downtown Hospital and practiced Internal Medicine in New York City for 10 years.

Dr. Rao is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Medic Mobile and represents The Rockefeller Foundation on the Private Foundation constituency of Global Fund ATM.

His passion is to harness data science to strengthen community health and end preventable mortality.


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