One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Raj Panjabi is a renowned physician, entrepreneur, and former White House official.
Previously, Dr. Panjabi served as Special Assistant to President Biden and led the pandemic office at the White House National Security Council, playing a pivotal role in the largest global vaccination campaign in history against COVID-19 and numerous infectious disease outbreak responses while overseeing efforts to prevent the next pandemic. He also led the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative.
Panjabi is Entrepreneur In Residence at Emerson Collective. He is co-founder and President Emeritus of Last Mile Health. Panjabi has served on Harvard University’s faculty and advised former President Sirleaf at the World Health Organization’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
Named one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune, he has received the TED Prize, Clinton Global Citizen Award, Skoll Award, and World Economic Forum’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
Recognized as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, The Honorable Raj Panjabi is a renowned physician and entrepreneur who formerly led President Biden’s pandemic office at the White House National Security Council.
Dr. Panjabi served in the Biden-Harris Administration from February 2021 to August 2023. Dr. Panjabi served as Special Assistant to President Biden and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the White House. As the President’s top pandemic official at the National Security Council, he worked to execute federal policy to protect America and the world from infectious disease threats. He helped lead the U.S. strategy for the largest global vaccination campaign in history against COVID-19 and responses to outbreaks of Influenza, Mpox, Ebola, Polio and Marburg. Panjabi also oversaw White House efforts to prevent the next pandemic. Nationally, he played a lead role in implementing the National Biodefense Strategy, American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, President's Bioeconomy Executive Order, and the PREVENT Pandemics Act, laying the foundation for a new White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy. Globally, Panjabi played a lead role in implementing the U.S. Global Health Security Act, scaling U.S. partnerships to over 50 countries, developing the President’s COVID-19 and health security initiatives with the G7 and G20, and coordinating U.S. policy on the World Bank's Pandemic Fund, World Health Organization's Pandemic Accord and the United Nations' Biological Weapons Convention.
Previously, Dr. Panjabi was appointed by President Biden as the President's Malaria Coordinator, leading the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), implemented by U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PMI has invested billions of dollars to protect hundreds of millions of people at risk of malaria across 30 countries. At PMI, he oversaw U.S. efforts to help launch the world’s first malaria vaccine, invest in community health workers, and create a five-year strategy to help the world prevent 1 billion malaria cases.
Prior to serving in the Biden-Harris Administration, Panjabi was Advisor to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her role as co-chair with Former Prime Minister Helen Clark of the World Health Organization’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
Panjabi is Co-Founder and President Emeritus at Last Mile Health. Between 2007-2021, Panjabi served as CEO of Last Mile Health, an award-winning non-profit organization that works to save lives in the world's most remote communities. Today, Last Mile Health supports thousands of health workers serving millions of people across Africa and trains community health leaders around the world. Panjabi is also Entrepreneur In Residence at Emerson Collective and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Associate Physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital Division of Global Health Equity. Between 2019-21, he served on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Social Innovation and Change Initiative.
Panjabi was named by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2016 and one of the 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2018. In 2015 and 2017, he was listed in the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune. He is a recipient of the 2017 TED Prize, the Clinton Global Citizen Award for leadership in response to the West Africa Ebola epidemic, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was named a Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Economic Forum. In 2017, President Sirleaf and the Government of Liberia recognized Panjabi with Distinction of Knight Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Pioneers, one of the country's highest civilian honors. In 2023, he received the Dean's Medal, the highest recognition the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health confers on public health leaders.
Panjabi has served on the boards of Doctors for America, Echoing Green, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Foundation, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the Skoll Foundation and Last Mile Health. He has also served on the U.S. board constituency to the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and on the U.S. Interagency Advisory Council for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Panjabi has delivered hundreds of speeches, lectures and presentations and authored numerous publications in the scientific and popular press. Panjabi received an M.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, trained in internal medicine and as a clinical fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and received a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University as a Sommer Scholar.
Panjabi's parents migrated from India to Liberia, where Panjabi was born and raised. After civil war broke out in Liberia in 1989, Panjabi and his family fled and were resettled in the United States of America. He now lives with his family in the Washington, D.C. area. Before he was Panjabi MD, he danced to Panjabi MC as a bhangra competitor and never won a single contest.