Professor Mala Rao
Senior Clinical Fellow at Imperial College London; Medical Adviser for Workforce Race Equality Strategy Implementation Team, NHS England; and Trustee for WaterAid.
Professor Mala Rao is an NHS public health physician by background, her career spanning public health practice, policy and research in the national and global arenas, has included working as Head of Public Health Workforce and Capacity Building for England and Vice Chair of NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Strategy Advisory Group. Her proudest achievements are in workforce development for improving health, strengthening health systems and environmental health.
Mala has advised internationally on public health and health care and has fostered close links between the UK and health institutions in the developing world, especially in India. Under the aegis of the UK Global Health Strategy, she was the founding Director of the first Institute of Public Health established by the Public Health Foundation of India.
Mala’s concern for and understanding of the health impacts of climate change and environmental degradation have grown over the past 3 decades. Deeply committed to health and social equality, she has become internationally recognised for raising awareness of the impacts of climate change on health, especially the health of women and children, and for championing universal access to good quality health care, safe water and sanitation. Determined to make public health everybody’s business and responsibility, she has championed the involvement of professions such as urban planning in improving health, and the water and sanitation professions and industry in tackling the global challenges of water scarcity, water quality, extreme weather events and water conservation.
Her publications include the highly commended 2009 book, ‘The Health Practitioner’s Guide to Climate Change’ which she co-edited, and which has been referred to as a ‘wake-up call’ for the health professions. In 2010, she was invited to lead the writing of the health chapter of Government of India’s 4 by 4 Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change and a DFID commissioned study, of the state of preparedness of Indian states to address the health impacts of climate change. In 2015, she was one of 3 global experts invited to join Sanofi’s climate change and health advisory board during its preparation to contribute to the 2015 UN COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.
In addition to her research, publications and advocacy, she is delighted to be contributing to global public health and environmental sustainability