Sowmya Ramesh

Head, Government and CSR Partnerships

New Delhi, India

Sowmya Ramesh is a project manager at the Population Council. She is an epidemiologist and researcher with more than 18 years of experience in the development sector, particularly in the areas of maternal and neonatal health, nutrition, sanitation, environmental and occupational health, HIV/AIDS, financial inclusion, and skill development. She has experience in conducting quantitative and qualitative research studies and impact evaluations and in implementing various projects of national importance.

Currently, she is a co-PI for the Improving Maternal Health Measurement Capacity and Use (IMHM) project, funded by Harvard University. Her role includes the development of validation methodology and guidance of research staff on tool development, research methods, data analysis, and writing journal articles. She coordinates and manages all aspects of the study, including external communications with key stakeholders. She is also part of the data science project funded by the Gates Foundation that aims to improve the quality of health and demographic data in India. Her key role is to provide technical support and oversee the activities relating to the National Data Quality Forum set up as part of the project; to train various data-collection agencies, academic institutions, and researchers on data-quality guidelines, and to participate in the development of the working papers on data quality and solutions and of the national guidelines document on data quality. Prior to this role, Ramesh successfully led and managed the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, the first ever nationally representative nutrition survey of children and adolescents in India.

Before joining the Council, Ramesh worked as a monitoring & research officer at the United Nations Development Program, India and was also a moderator and resource person for UN Solution Exchange (UNSE). She led several major projects of national importance, including the “GOALS” project that aimed to strengthen the effectiveness of key programs in the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India (GoI), with a particular focus on livelihoods and employment. She provided technical support to the program, guided the development of monitoring indicators to assess the program progress, built capacity of key program implementers in research and scientific writing, and led research initiatives that further strengthened the program. In addition, she led the “Financial Literacy & You—A financial inclusion and literacy program among adolescents in urban slums of Delhi” project. She designed and implemented the intervention and disseminated the learnings to various stakeholders including the Department of Financial Services, GoI, & various NGOs engaged in imparting financial literacy. As a UNSE resource person, Ramesh helped build individual and organizational capacities by strengthening their knowledge base, solved implementation problems of NGOs, and contributed to strengthening the policy environment for better program implementation.

Prior to joining UNDP and the Council, Ramesh worked as an epidemiologist and resource person in various NGOs and other UN organizations in India. Before joining the public health field, Ramesh worked as a dental surgeon in India, treating patients with dental problems.

Ramesh has presented more than 20 scientific papers internationally; is the author of more than 45 peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, and policy briefs; and has trained more than 500 researchers and program implementers in scientific writing.

Ramesh has an MS in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health and an MPH from Texas A&M University Health Science Center. She did her bachelor’s in dental surgery (BDS) at Annamalai University.