When asked to help Connecticut navigate its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first things former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi did was schedule a meeting with Yale School of Public Health Professor Dr. Albert Ko, her co-chair on Gov. Ned Lamont’s Reopening Connecticut Advisory Group.
Ko, an internationally acclaimed infectious diseases expert, used the opportunity to explain the intricacies of the epidemiology of microbial diseases. In return, Nooyi, a 1980 Yale School of Management graduate, shared her insights on the needs of the struggling business community.
Nooyi was so impressed by Ko’s extensive knowledge and scientific approach that she and her husband, Raj Nooyi, a global supply chain executive, gifted $3 million to establish the Raj and Indra Nooyi Professor of Public Health at Yale. With the support of Yale President Peter Salovey and the Board of Trustees, Ko became the inaugural holder of the chair in July of 2021.
For the Nooyis, establishing the professorship is an important step toward securing the YSPH as an international leader in public health science, implementation and technology. They believe the school could serve as an anchor for a future Connecticut life sciences research network.
“I’d like to see Yale do what Stanford and Berkeley did in Silicon Valley,” Raj Nooyi said. “If the Yale School of Public Health could do that in New Haven and in Connecticut, that would be a real game-changer.”
Indra Nooyi, like her husband, believes the YSPH is at a critical point in terms of expansion, recognition and growth. A major gift endowing the school is essential to its future.
“The time has come for us to lay out a bold vision for the Yale School of Public Health,” she said. “We need a major anchor gift to create a phenomenal Yale School of Public Health that is different from any other school of public health, one that is implementation-oriented and committed to integrating new technologies to advance and improve public health. It should be a school that defines the next century of public health.”