Dr. Pranav Shetty, who is being hailed as a leading physician in the U.S.-led response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, was also one of the announced guests of First Lady Michelle Obama for Tuesday night’s State of the Union address delivered by President Barack Obama. The White House said Shetty is representing the thousands of military and civilian health care workers who this past summer were deployed to West Africa, the center of the epidemic, and were collectively named last year's TIMEs person of the year.
Shetty is the global emergency health coordinator for the International Medical Corps, a private, volunteer-based nonprofit organization established in 1984 that the White House called “a critical partner” in the Ebola response. He was deployed last August to Liberia to set up and oversee two Ebola treatment units and to train the teams of responders deployed to other Ebola hot spots, according to the White House. To date, the units have discharged more than 80 Ebola survivors, an IMC spokeswoman said. Last October, Shetty spoke to the International Business Times about the desperate need for a steady pipeline of volunteers to staff the response units.
“Even if I said we have the number of volunteers we need here at this Ebola treatment center right now, that’s going to change because at the end of the month we need to rotate new people in. It’s hard right now to say what we need in the future,” Shetty said via cell phone from one of the units in Liberia. “More national and international staff are going to be needed and more staff need to be trained in order to work effectively. … For international staff we’re always in a rolling ongoing recruitment process, because if a staff member leaves they need to be replaced.”
Shetty also has experience responding to public health emergencies in Haiti, Libya, South Sudan, Jordan, Iraq and the Philippines, the White House said. Born in India and raised in Trinidad, Shetty received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Jaya Vadlamudi, the IMC spokeswoman. Shetty later became a fellow in global health and international emergency medicine at the University of Maryland. Beginning in 2010, Shetty had been listed as a clinical instructor in the university's school of medicine.
Shetty and his wife, Nora, live in Arlington, Virginia.