The Novartis Foundation (No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) announced on March 23 that Vasant (Vas) Narasimhan, M.D., joined its Board of Trustees in January. He replaces Rainer Boehm, who stepped down from the Board upon his retirement as Chief Commercial and Medical Affairs Officer for Novartis Pharma AG.
Dr. Narasimhan has been Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer for Novartis since February 1, 2016, and is a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis. He brings to the Foundation a wide range of leadership experience in Novartis development and commercial functions, spanning general medicines, oncology, biosimilars and vaccines. Before joining Novartis in 2005, he worked extensively on global public health issues, including HIV/AIDS treatment, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and public health policy.
Dr. Narasimhan earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago, all in the US. He is also an elected member of the (US) National Academy of Medicine.
"I am very excited to have Vas Narasimhan join us on the Board," says Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation. "At the Novartis Foundation, we strive to have unparalleled impact on the health of low- to middle-income communities through a combination of programmatic work, outcomes research, and its translation into policy to tackle emerging global health challenges. We have much to gain from Dr. Narasimhan's leadership in both global health and in drug development at Novartis, particularly the unprecedented rise and risk of non-communicable diseases and evolving ways to address them."
Vas Narasimhan welcomes the new opportunity: "I share the foundation's commitment to innovation in healthcare delivery. Advances in medicine and public health too often leave the poorest populations behind. Bridging interventions in public health, healthcare systems and clinical practice, the Novartis Foundation is uniquely positioned to reach the most underserved patients together with its local and global partners. I look forward to supporting its efforts to have a transformational impact on people's lives, no matter where they live."
The Novartis Foundation thanks outgoing Board member Rainer Boehm for his contributions as part of the Novartis Foundation Board of Trustees over the past two years and wishes him a happy and long retirement.