Unni Karunakara recently stepped down as the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF). His involvement with MSF began in 1995, when he set up a tuberculosis control program in Ethiopia. He went on to work as a medical coordinator for MSF programs in Azerbaijan, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Karunakara also worked in MSF’s public health department in Amsterdam, moving on to become medical director of MSF’s Access Campaign. In 2007, he was part of the medical emergency response team that treated victims of cyclone Sidr in Mathbaria, Bangladesh.
He has held various academic and research fellowships at universities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Germany and the United Kingdom, focusing on the demography of forced migration and the delivery of health care to neglected populations affected by conflict, disasters and epidemics.
Karunakara also served as the Deputy Director of Health of the Earth Institute, Millennium Villages Project, and Assistant Clinical Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, both at Columbia University
Karunakara teaches a module in Gateway to Global Affairs and a seminar on complex humanitarian emergencies.