Obama names two Indian-Americans to key posts

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Thursday, January 27, 2011

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama has named an Indian-American doctor to an Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health and re-nominated an Indian American agricultural scientist as chief agricultural negotiator in trade talks.

“Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” said Obama, naming Vivek Murthy, a doctor, and Islam A. Siddiqui along with 13 other key appointments.

Murthy is an attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, where he is an internal medicine hospitalist, according to the White House.

Murthy is co-founder and President of Doctors for America, a grassroots organisation of over 15,000 doctors and medical students in 50 states who are working to build a better health care system for all Americans.

He is also the co-founder and chairman of Epernicus, LLC, a privately-held company that builds social networking platforms for scientific institutions and clinical trials.

Murthy received a BA from Harvard University, an MD from the Yale School of Medicine, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Obama Wednesday also re-nominated Islam A. Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), with the rank of ambassador.

Siddiqui, who studied plant protection from an agricultural university in Pantnagar, India, was originally nominated Sep 24 last, but is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Siddiqui is currently vice president for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, where he is responsible for regulatory and international trade issues related to crop protection chemicals.

Previously, Siddiqui also served as CropLife America’s vice president for agricultural biotechnology and trade.

From 1997 to 2001, Siddiqui served in various capacities in the Clinton Administration at US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as under secretary for marketing and regulatory programmes, senior trade advisor to Secretary Dan Glickman and Deputy Under Secretary for marketing and regulatory programmes.

Since 2004, Siddiqui has also served on the US Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Health/Science Products & Services, which advises the US Secretary of Commerce and USTR on international trade issues related to these sectors.

Before joining USDA, Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He has MS and PhD degrees in plant pathology, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Filed under: Medicine, World

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