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Here for Good: A steadfast commitment to health equity

How one colleague’s upbringing and career journey have motivated her to fight inequities around the world

June 10, 2024

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For Priya Agrawal, health equity has been a lifelong concern and a guiding principle in the work she’s done across industries.

As a young girl growing up in central London, Agrawal saw firsthand how inequities even within her own extended family could drastically impact health outcomes.

“I watched my father’s side of the family — who lived in London — live with diabetes, but I watched my mother’s side of the family — who lived in North India — die of diabetes,” Agrawal said. “It took me a while to figure out that it was my father’s family’s access to the National Health Service that made the difference.”

That early insight propelled Agrawal into a career as an obstetrician and gynecologist before moving into public health. Now vice president in charge of international health equity and partnerships, Agrawal first joined our company to help launch MSD for Mothers, a global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life. From there, she went on to a variety of roles — from lead of our vaccines and contraceptives business in the U.K. to managing director of South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa cluster to global head of HPV vaccines.

Agrawal’s work — and the passion that fuels it — continues, and she has no plans to stop.

“My purpose in life is to advance health equity. I want to be able to say that I did all I could to ensure more people could both survive and thrive because they had easier access to health.”