Mrinalini Darswal, ’23
From: Jammu and Kashmir, India
Degrees Held: MBBS, Government Medical College, Jammu, India
MA, University of Texas, Austin
Mrinalini was the Commissioner, Food Safety; Drugs Controller; Project Director, National AIDS Control Program, Special Secretary Health, and Family Welfare and Member Secretary of Coordination Committee on Juvenile Drug Addiction, Government of Delhi before moving to University of Texas (UT) at Austin for a Master’s in Economics. Since 2002, Mrinalini has served as a member of the Indian Administrative Services, India’s premier public service. She was also a member of the Indian Revenue Service. Her work generally involved the design and execution of public policy, civic engagement, leadership, and coordination among different public service departments like health and education, and collaboration with central ministries.
She has served as the Collector and District Magistrate in diverse districts in India (akin to a county) heading the administration of these units that included executive leadership in the area of development, poverty alleviation, and maintenance of law and order. With academic interests that range across medicine, economics, philosophy, psychology, and public policy, she joined the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health DrPH Program to gain proficiency and skills to pursue leadership positions in public health in India and multi-lateral global agencies. Her interest is in the areas of easy financing, equity, and access in health care based on her background in central and state-level health policy, health care management, and budgeting.
Mrinalini was a top graduate of her Medical School and a gold medalist in Medicine and Surgery. She was nominated for UT’s President’s Award for Global Learning in 2020. She is also a recipient of the National Scholastic Excellence Award in India. She firmly believes it is the human capital of any country that fires its economic growth.
With her two children, daughter, Nemeira, 14, and son, Hanut, 10, she likes traveling, reading, and writing.
Student News and Publications
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, published an article titled “As Stealth Omicron Ravages Europe, China, What is Protecting Indians?” for CNN News 18. The article details how Omicron can still cause long Covid, a consequence that may follow even the mild cases of Covid-19. Preventing infections is key for India.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, published an article titled ” Do Vaccines Work against Omicron, is it as Deadly as Delta? FAQs on New COVID Variant Answered” on COVID-19, Omicron, and its implications on India.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, wrote an article for PTI Washington on the coordination of the pandemic suppression efforts between two big democracies, who suffered massively during the current pandemic. The article, titled, “Tremendous scope for India-US cooperation in health technology and pharma”, can be found here.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, wrote an article titled “COVID-19: Can strategic vaccination in India bend the curve for good?” for Times Now News in India. The article discusses the strategic COVID-19 vaccination coverage of the Indian population by using billions of person-hours of expertise of doorstep inoculations that allowed India to eradicate Polio.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, was interviewed by PTI Washington on India’s vaccination strategy as well as additional containment strategies, besides amplifying vaccination coverage, for the resurgent COVID19 pandemic in India. The interview, “Public healthcare expert recommends new Covid-19 vaccine strategy for India“, has been published in various newspapers in India including the Times of India.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, wrote an article for News 18 titled “As Covid-19 Ravages Maharashtra, Why Do We Not Fear it Enough to Stay Safe?” which speaks about the underlying, automatic brain processes that guide our behavior towards carelessness despite facing a potentially fatal risk like Covid-19.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, wrote an article titled “Can tweak and relaunch vax within weeks: Harvard scholar amid rising mutations” for Midday newspaper in India. She spoke about the resurgence of infections in India and potential strategies for control.
Mrinalini Darswal, DrPH ’23, wrote an article for News 18 titled “Covid-19 Vaccines: How Global Research Answers FAQs” discussing how India was able to leverage her position as a global leader in vaccines to reach shots to poorer nations and is also able to make cover shortfalls in richer countries