Saumya RamaRao is a senior associate with the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. She oversees major product introduction research, generates evidence about health systems and the people who use them, and provides technical assistance for program design and implementation.
An economic demographer by training, RamaRao has worked on a wide range of reproductive health issues, such as safe abortion, safe motherhood, and family planning. She conducts on-the-ground research to identify specific reproductive health needs; works closely with Ministry of Health officials and service-delivery organizations to expand their range and quality of services; and provides technical assistance and support to program monitoring and evaluation.
RamaRao has a longstanding interest in capacity building. She chairs the Council’s Fred H. Bixby Fellowship Program, which brings young scientists from developing countries to conduct research with an experienced mentor at any one of the Council’s international offices. RamaRao leads the recruitment of fellowship applicants, manages the program, and works to create an environment in which fellows and mentors can learn from one another. She is also a member of the Council’s Institutional Review Board providing ethical oversight to institutionally developed projects.
RamaRao joined the Population Council as a fellow in the Council’s New Delhi office in 1994, and moved to the New York office in 1997. She has worked in numerous countries, including Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia. Before joining the Council, she conducted research and taught population and development at the International Institute for Population Sciences in Mumbai.
She belongs to the American Public Health Association, Asian Population Association, Indian Association for the Study of Population, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, and the Population Association of America. In addition, she has served as an invited peer reviewer for many journals, including Global Health Science and Practice, International Family Planning Perspectives, and Studies in Family Planning.
RamaRao holds a master’s in econometrics from the University of Madras, India (1984) and a PhD in economics with specialization in demography from the University of Southern California (1990).