Barack Obama appoints Indian-American to Class of White House Fellows


US President Barack Obama has appointed Indian-American neurosurgeon from California, Anand Veeravagu, as one among the 15 White House Fellows.

Veeravagu, a neurosurgeon in training at Stanford University, most recently served as Chief Neurosurgery Resident at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital caring for soldiers returning from Afghanistan with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

Focused on advancing minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical techniques for diseases of the central nervous system, in 2006, he developed a novel radiotherapeutic to treat Glioblastoma Multiforme, a malignant brain tumor.

He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and has written for the Huffington Post.

The White House Fellows Programme was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson to give promising American leaders 'first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs'.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service.

The 2012-2013 Class of White House Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, varied professions, and have all shown a strong commitment to public service and leadership, the White House said in a statement.

In 2011, Anand staffed the CURE Neurosurgical Hospital in Uganda and organised medical relief missions for the Tsunami of 2004.

Anand has received over 30 awards for his leadership, research and promotion of healthcare access to underserved populations, the statement said.

In 2012, Anand received the Gold Foundation's Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award for his commitment to mentorship, the White House said.

Anand's research employs national databases to evaluate trends in health resource utilisation to provide guidelines for policy reform.

Anand has been accepted to the Stanford GSB MBA programme, received his M.D. from Stanford University and graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and minor in Multicultural and Regional Studies.

Among other White House Fellows, Kermit Jones, from Michigan, who recently finished his M.P.A., with a regional specialisation in South Asia, at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

There, he founded a chapter of Developments in Literacy (DIL), a non-profit that has educated over 16,000 elementary school students in Pakistan and led a team that advised on technology use and teacher training, the White House said.

He also served on a team that worked with the NYC Office of Management and Budget to evaluate and to advise on ways to streamline the design process in their USD 8 billion annual capital infrastructure investment portfolio.

Before SIPA he served in the US Navy as a flight surgeon for a Marine helicopter casualty evacuation squadron in Al Habbaniyah, Iraq, providing primary care for his squadron, HMM-364 ('Purple Foxes'), and emergency care for US and Iraqi nationals.

Prior to military service, Kermit worked as a primary care physician with a rural health service at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

He studied the legal implications of trade and AIDS-related public health legislation at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, and was a Mordecai scholar at Duke University, where he received his M.D. and J.D. He is conversational in Urdu, Hindi, and Spanish.

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