Avina Sarna is director of the Population Council's office in India. A physician by training, she has extensive experience bridging clinical medicine with high-impact public health interventions.
Sarna joined the Council in 2001 to lead the Access to HIV Treatment global operations research agenda under the Council’s Horizons program, which documented barriers to antiretroviral treatment services, assessed community-based prevention approaches for people living with HIV, and identified integration points between reproductive health and HIV services. She has also led research on HIV prevention and treatment among injecting drug users and microbicide adherence among female sex workers.
Prior to her work with the Council, Sarna practiced as a physician in India, Poland, Switzerland, the United States, and Thimphu, Bhutan, where she ran the maternal and child health and family planning center. She has also conducted research on nutrition in Iran, and on high-dose folic acid therapy for hemodialysis patients in the United States. Sarna coordinated an FDA-sponsored clinical trial at the Division of Nephrology at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC; and has consulted with the World Health Organization and UNICEF in Iran and Switzerland.
Sarna received her medical degree from Guru Nanak Dev University in India, with a specialization in internal medicine. She completed her MPH from George Washington University in Washington, DC and received her PhD from Ghent University in Belgium. Sarna has published extensively on issues related to HIV and AIDS and has given presentations at conferences and workshops around the world.