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, including family planning, safe abortion, postabortion care, and safe motherhood. She has led multi-country research projects using a variety of methodological approaches ranging from implementation science to social science and market research. 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; plan for financing of services; and provides technical assistance and support to program monitoring and evaluation.
RamaRao is a Trustee on the board of the ICA Foundation, a public-private partnership between the Population Council and Bayer AG that donates LNG-IUS contraceptives to service delivery organizations. She chairs the New and Under-used Reproductive Health Technologies (NURHT) Caucus of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. RamaRao is committed to coalition building and serves as an advisor in many interagency working groups that aim to advance reproductive health and rights globally. She is a member of the Population Council’s Institutional Review Board providing ethical oversight to institutionally developed projects and sits on the editorial committee of the journal Studies in Family Planning.
RamaRao has a longstanding interest in capacity building. She was the chair of the Council’s Fred H. Bixby Fellowship Program, which brought young scientists from developing countries to conduct research with an experienced mentor at one of the Council’s international offices.
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.
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). She is the author of more than 80 peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, policy briefs and book chapters.