Indian Americans Siddhartha Mukherjee, Raj Chetty honored as ‘Great Immigrants’


Great Immigrants

New Delhi-born duo among 38 corona warriors honored by Carnegie Corp.

Pulitzer Prize–winning physician author Siddhartha Mukherjee and Harvard economist Raj Chetty figure among 38 naturalized US citizens on Carnegie Corporation of New York’s 2020 list of ‘Great Immigrants’ for their role in combating covid-19 pandemic.

New Delhi born Mukherjee has been honored for using “his communication skills to educate the public and build awareness about covid-19 through forums and his widely read essays.”

Raj Chetty, also New Delhi born, makes the list for launching “a real-time data tracker to measure the economic impact of the pandemic and assisted decision-makers as they implemented new public policies.”

Siddhartha Mukherjee
Siddhartha Mukherjee

The philanthropic foundation which since 2006 has celebrated “Great Immigrants, Great Americans” on America’s July 4 Independence Day has this year highlighted the work of millions of immigrants “playing an essential role in the covid global health crisis.”

A noted oncologist, Mukherjee has since 2009 served on the faculty of Columbia University, where he is associate professor of medicine and a practicing physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mukherjee’s “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. It figures among one of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923. In 2015, Ken Burns turned it into a documentary titled “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”

In 2014, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors.

In May this year, Mukherjee was selected by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on a 15-member Blue-Ribbon Commission focusing on improving tele-health and broadband access in response to the Covid-19 health crisis.

Chetty received his PhD from Harvard in 2003 at the age of 23 and is one of the youngest tenured professors in the university’s history.

He has been named one of the top economists in the world by the New York Times and the Economist magazine. He was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2012.

Chetty also directs Opportunity Insights, a research lab that aims to identify barriers to economic and social mobility and develop scalable policy solutions to overcome them, the Corporation said.

Raj Chetty
Raj Chetty

“Chetty is optimistic about the potential of big data to inform policy and revive the American dream for the next generation, including immigrants — like his own family — who have long pinned their hopes on its promise,” it said.

“For us and many immigrants, that’s what America’s all about. If you work hard, you can move up, you can do whatever you want. The sky’s the limit,” he was quoted as telling the Harvard Gazette.

A third of the 2020 honorees are helping the recovery from covid pandemic by serving as nurses and doctors, as well as scientists who are striving to find effective treatments and a vaccine, the foundation said.

Overall, the 2020 Great Immigrants represent 35 countries of origin and a wide range of contributions to American life, from human rights and computer science to art, business, education, health care, journalism, music, politics, religion, research, and sports.

Joining 600 previous outstanding immigrants, the 2020 honorees, who mark the 15th class of Great Immigrants, will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on July 4 and through a social media tribute.

“Millions of brave Americans responded with selflessness and urgency to covid-19, including immigrants, who represent one out of six nurses and one out of four physicians,” said Carnegie President Vartan Gregorian.

“Their contributions to health care, biomedicine, the nation’s food system, and many other critically important sectors are immeasurable,” he said saluting them.

Gregorian noted that earlier Great Immigrants are also addressing the pandemic, including José Andrés, a chef whose nonprofit has helped feed millions of needy people and subsidized the reopening of hundreds of restaurants.

Noubar Afeyan, a biotechnology entrepreneur cofounded Moderna, an early front-runner in the race to develop a covid-19 vaccine and David Ho, a renowned AIDS researcher is now working to limit the spread of the virus that causes covid-19.


Indian American transplant surgeon Rahul Jindal among Carnegie’s 2019 Great Immigrants honorees (July 4, 2019)

Shantanu Narayen, Vivek Murthy among 2017 Great Immigrants Honorees (July 3, 2017)

Sundar Pichai, Bharati Mukherjee among 4 Indian Americans to be given ‘Great Immigrants’ award (June 29, 2016)

Indian Americans Aasif Mandvi, Satya Nadella, Beheruz Sethna, Subra Suresh honored at Great Immigrants ceremony in NY (July 7, 2014)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.