WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Health) Appoints Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Renowned Global Health Leader, as New CEO

Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Health (WISH), the flagship healthcare program of Lord’s Education and Health Society (LEHS), is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Rakesh Kumar (formerly IAS) as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). With an impressive track record in healthcare leadership and a passion for improving healthcare outcomes, Dr. Rakesh Kumar is poised to steer the foundation towards an innovative and impactful future.

With a distinguished career spanning over three decades in the domain, while working in the policy and program implementation with the Govt of India, State Govts, UN agencies, Dr. Rakesh Kumar brings a wealth of experience and expertise to WISH. He has a proven background in driving strategic growth, enhancing operational efficiency, and improving patient outcomes. As the new CEO, Dr. Kumar will play a pivotal role in advancing the organization’s mission of delivering comprehensive quality healthcare to communities in need.

Speaking about the appointment, Mr. Sunil Wadhwani (Founder and Donor WISH) said, “Dr. Kumar has an extraordinary ability to inspire and lead with compassion and dedication. We are confident that his strategic direction and deep understanding of the healthcare landscape will guide us towards achieving our mission and help us in strengthening our partnerships and in making tangible positive impact. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Kumar has held senior executive positions with Government and renowned healthcare organizations, driving innovation and fostering collaborations. He has successfully implemented patient-centered initiatives, spearheaded digital transformation efforts, and championed community outreach programs. His passion for improving healthcare access and promoting wellness aligns perfectly with the WISH core values and strategic objectives.”

Speaking on his appointment as the CEO, Dr. Kumar said, “I am passionate about WISH – its people and its purpose – and it is an honour to join as its CEO to contribute to its impactful mission. I am excited to work with a dedicated team committed to improving the healthcare sector. Together, we will create innovative solutions, foster partnerships, and help ensure that quality healthcare access becomes a reality for everyone.”

Dr. Rakesh Kumar (formerly IAS, 1992) is a global health leader from India with formal training in Medicine, Ophthalmology, Global Health, Public Administration & Management. Dr. Kumar has more than 30 years of experience in designing policies, implementing, and monitoring large-scale development programs, leading state and national level policy, implementation and research portfolios in Government and UN/International agencies since 1992.

He has rich experience working with Governments and UN organizations. While working as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India, he led the establishment of the first set of six new AIIMS, and was instrumental in introducing six new vaccines, implementation of the largest portfolio of RMNCAH including vaccines, gender and nutrition, contributed immensely to the Polio eradication program (2014), and spearheaded maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (2015). Dr. Kumar was the key architect of Mission Indradhanush, a flagship immunization program of Govt of India, and the electronic vaccine intelligence network (eVIN) that have become accepted global best practices.

He has also received several fellowships from prestigious global schools and universities such as Harvard School of Public Health (Boston), Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore), International Vaccine Institute, Seoul (Korea), World Bank’s South East Asia Region, Bangkok, National Neonatology Forum (NNF) and Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP). London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine had chosen him as a Gates Fellow for the prestigious Fellowship in Global Health Leadership Program in 2019. He has recently been invited to serve as a Senior Scholar at School of Public Health, University of Memphis (USA). Besides developing several evidence-based large-scale flagship programs, he has authored 30 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and penned down 20 Op-Eds on public/global health in prestigious newspapers in India

He is a recipient of several prestigious international and national awards including Excellence Award by the World Book of Records, London; SKOCH Challenger Award, the highest award by an independent organization in India; WHO’s South-East Asian Public Health Education Institutions Network (SEAPHEIN) Leadership Award; South Asia Sabre Diamond & Gold Award for superior achievement by Mission Indradhanush campaign; Distinguished Achievers Award by Asian Influenza & Geriatric Society, India, for his distinguished services in public/global health and development in India and globally. He is a respected thought leader and speaker at many prestigious national and international conferences on topics related to healthcare delivery, patient-centered care, and healthcare policy.

Dr. Kumar’s appointment comes at a crucial time as WISH embarks on a new era of growth and transformation. With a focus on leveraging technology and advancing healthcare solutions, the foundation is poised to make a substantial impact on the quality of healthcare ecosystem.

About Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare (WISH)
Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare (WISH) is the flagship program of the Lords Education and Health Society (LEHS), an Indian non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen primary healthcare systems through innovation. Established in 2014, LEHS I WISH aims to reform the primary healthcare system by creating an egalitarian, innovation-driven healthcare ecosystem and making high-quality healthcare services available and affordable to all Indians.

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