Dr Soumya Swaminathan to be awarded honourary doctorate by Canada’s McGill University

Ottawa, May 11 (PTI) Dr Soumya Swaminathan, most recently WHO’s Chief Scientist, has been named among the 10 exceptional individuals who will receive honorary degrees from Canada’s prestigious McGill University as part of the Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies.

In 2017, Swaminathan joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Deputy Director General (Programmes), and, in March 2019, was named its first Chief Scientist, a role she filled through the Covid-19 pandemic until late 2022.

More than two centuries old, McGill, a public research university in Montreal, grants honorary degrees to individuals “who have lifetime records of outstanding scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or of exceptional contributions to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity,” an announcement by the University said.

Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies would take place from May 28 to June 5, the announcement made late on Friday said. Swaminathan, 65, will receive the Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D Sc) in Health Sciences on May 28.

“The conferral of an honorary degree, McGill’s highest honour, is both a recognition of the transformative power of individual achievement and a celebration of the values and aspirations that unite our community,” said Deep Saini, President of McGill.

Describing her, the McGill announcement said: “Dr Soumya Swaminathan is a globally recognised leader in public health and infectious diseases. A pediatrician and a renowned researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, Dr Swaminathan has more than 40 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into effective programmes.”

“Swaminathan’s leadership at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in coordinating research efforts, disseminating crucial information, and advising policymakers on effective strategies to control the spread of the virus,” it added.

“Overwhelmed to be receiving an honorary doctorate from @mcgillu this month. Look forward to the visit and meeting the faculty and students,” Swaminathan posted on her official X handle on Saturday soon after the announcement.

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