Vivek Murthy, key Biden advisor, has roots in Karnataka

Indian-American Vivek Murthy, key advisor to Joe Biden on Covid-19, has roots in Karnataka

Murthy, a former US Surgeon General, is among the battery of experts that Joe Biden consults

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attends a coronavirus briefing. Credit: AFP Photo

Vivek Murthy, an Indian-American with roots in Karnataka, is one of the key strategists aiding democratic nominee Joe Biden in his race for the US presidency. If Biden manages to defeat the current president Donald Trump, Murthy is likely to grab one of the key positions in the US government.

Murthy, a former US Surgeon General, is among the battery of experts that Biden consults. According to reports, Murthy, along with economist Raj Chetty, another prominent Indian-American aiding the Biden campaign, is advising the presidential nominee on the ongoing pandemic. In the early days of Covid-19, Biden was briefed almost "every day, or at least four times a week."

Murthy, who served under the Barack Obama administration, has roots in Hallegere village of Mandya district in Karnataka. He is the grandson of HT Narayan Shetty, a backward class leader and an aide of ex-Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs. 

He received a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management, and an MD from Yale School of Medicine.

According to reports, he has also donated funds to improve health facilities in his village in Karnataka.

Murthy recalled his family, his ancestral village, and his agricultural background when he was appointed US Surgeon General, an advisor to the president on public health measures. 

"My family was never supposed to have left our ancestral village. My father is the son of a farmer in rural India. He was supposed to have been a farmer, as was I. But for my grandfather's insistence that his son get an education – even if that meant going into debt – we might have never left that village to go out in the world and – as my grandfather also insisted – start fixing what needed fixing," he said in 2015

"We were not supposed to have become Americans. My parents stopped in three other countries – including a brutal dictatorship – on their journey to get here. They saved up money and scrounged for information about job opportunities, always knowing that America was the destination," Murthy said.

"He is eminently qualified for the job," said Biden, who was the vice president to Obama.