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Unni Krishnan Karunakara

Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health

Contact Information

Unni Krishnan Karunakara, MBBS, MPH, DrPH



Dr. Unni Karunakara was International President of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) from 2010-2013. He has been a humanitarian worker and a public health professional for more than two decades, with extensive experience in the delivery of health care to populations affected by conflict, disasters, epidemics, and neglect in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. He was Medical Director of the MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines (2005-2007) and co-founded VIVO, an organisation that works toward overcoming and preventing traumatic stress and its consequences. Karunakara serves on the Board of Directors of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) India and MSF Holland.

Dr Karunakara was a Senior Fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University from 2014-2017. He has held various academic and research fellowships at universities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Germany and the United Kingdom, focusing on the demography of forced migration and the delivery of health care to neglected populations affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics. Karunakara served as the Deputy Director of Health of the Earth Institute, Millennium Villages Project (2008-2010), and was Assistant Clinical Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health (2008-2017), both at Columbia University. Karunakara is a Visiting Professor at Manipal University.

Education & Training

  • DrPH
    Johns Hopkins University (2004)
  • MPH
    Yale University (1995)
  • MBBS
    Mangalore University (1990)

Professional Service

Artificial Intelligence and Equality Initiative, Carnegie Council for Ethic in International AffairsMember2020 - Present
Global Advisory Board, Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal UniversityMember2017 - Present

Departments & Organizations