Akarsh Venkatasubramanian

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Akarsh Venkatasubramanian
Personal details
Born (1995-01-01) 1 January 1995 (age 29)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu State, Republic of India
(present-day India)
Manipal University (BE)
University of Geneva (MS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston University
OccupationScience diplomat, biomedical engineer

Akarsh Venkatasubramanian is a biomedical engineer, science diplomat, international civil servant and yoga teacher from India. He is best known for helping clarify the role of science and technology for global diplomacy and health in the 21st century, by highlighting the interactions between policy, technology and society,[1] especially during the response and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

He is also recognized as the first researcher to theorize the application of yoga philosophy for innovation in global health,[3] taking guidance from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Early life and education

Akarsh Venkatasubramanian was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, in January 1995.[4] He received a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Manipal University, India.[4]

He then completed a Master of Science in Global Health from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, which included training from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts, United States.[5]


Through the United Nations system and its partner agencies, Venkatasubramanian has been recognized for his work on global governance and diplomacy, technology innovation, global health, and more. [6]

Venkatasubramanian trained with UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) on developing an impact evaluation model for health technology innovation. [7][8]

During the COVID-19 crisis, his viewpoint on the human rights challenges of digital COVID-19 surveillance was published by the Health and Human Rights journal,[2] and he was involved in research on the role of digital health technologies and health data for vulnerable populations, [9] including its effects on children [10]

He helped found the GRAPH Network, a multidisciplinary community of health professionals, universities, NGOs, and international organizations from over 30 countries, providing data analysis and education on public health issues. [11][12] He contributed to the ongoing debates on global health data governance, [13][14] and on health in the digital economy.[15]

In April 2022 he finalized the Health Data Governance Principles,[16][17] a set of health data management policies and procedures stewarded by the Transform Health Coalition.[18] The principles are designed to govern the management of health data with overarching directives on protecting individuals, groups, and communities in health data sharing practices, promoting the value of health data and prioritizing equity. [19]

In 2023, the Oxford University Press published his recommendations on national legislation for digital health, [20] based on his work with parliamentarians and researchers in Portugal, India, Colombia and Argentina. [21][22]

Akarsh Venkatasubramanian is a globally certified Hatha yoga teacher (500 HR, Yoga Alliance), with training from the Patanjali International Yoga Foundation, Rishikesh, India, and teaches asana and pranayama to select students.[23]

In 2023, he was recognized as the author of the first article globally to apply the fundamentals of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to global health innovation.[24] In a publication of the Oxford University Press,[3] he called for governments and innovators to prioritize the privacy, agency, safety and security of people (and the data they contribute to the health system) and thereby build trust by following the ideals laid out in the first three Yamas of theYogasutras:

  • Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
  • Satya (सत्य): Truthfulness
  • Asteya (अस्तेय): Not stealing

Works and co-authored peer reviewed publications

The ILO’s role in digitally-enabled health and social systems: Clarifying the interactions between digital technologies, social protection and human rights. [25]

The case for health data regulations. [26]

L’enquête mondiale de l’OIT sur la discrimination liée au VIH dans le monde du travail, by International Labour Organization, 2021. [27]


  1. "The case for health data regulations". The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Venkatasubramanian, A. (10 December 2020). "The Human Rights Challenges of Digital COVID-19 Surveillance". Health and Human Rights Journal. 22 (2): 79–84. PMC 7762890. PMID 33390698.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Venkatasubramanian, A. (12 July 2023). "A digital health trust framework guided by values from the science of yoga". Oxford Open Digital Health. 1 (1): oqad007. doi:10.1093/oodh/oqad007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Akarsh Venkatasubramanian's CV, 2023". Internet Archives. 6 September 2023.
  5. "ORCID: 0009-0008-2196-9386". ORCID. 24 August 2022.
  6. "Akarsh Venkatasubramanian: complete works". Google. 10 September 2023.
  7. "Foraus contributors: Venkatasubramanian, A". Foraus. 14 June 2021.
  8. "UNAIDS, health financing and the future of global health data governance". pre-print of UNAIDS (through Internet Archives). 14 November 2021.
  9. Dalal, J.; Triulzi, I.; James, A.; Nguimbis, B.; Dri, G.G.; Venkatasubramanian, A.; Keiser, O.; Stoll, B.; Coelho, F.C. (22 November 2021). "COVID-19 mortality in women and men in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional study". BMJ Global Health. 6 (11): e007225. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2021-007225. PMC 8611236. PMID 34815243.
  10. Velásquez, S.R.; Jacques, L.; Dalal, J.; Sestito, P.; Habibi, Z.; Venkatasubramanian, A.; Nguimbis, B.; Mesa, S.B.; Chimbetete, C.; Keiser, O.; Impouma, B. (30 September 2021). "The toll of COVID-19 on African children: a descriptive analysis on COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality among the pediatric population in sub-Saharan Africa". International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 110: 457–465. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2021.07.060. PMC 8457828. PMID 34332088.
  11. "The GRAPH Network". 14 July 2022.
  12. "The GRAPH Network on Crunchbase". Crunchbase. 14 July 2022.
  13. "Digital Health and COVID-19: Key lessons for a broader conversation about global health data governance". Foraus. 4 July 2020.
  14. "Health Data Exchange in times of COVID-19". Think Tank Hub Geneva. 18 May 2022.
  15. "Digital Health in the Digital Economy". LinkedIn. 17 October 2022.
  16. "Health Data Governance Principles". 17 February 2021.
  17. "Health Data Governance Principles". Research Gate. 5 June 2022.
  18. "Transform Health Coalition". 12 August 2022.
  19. "Making the case for stronger health data governance". Medicus Mundi. 2 July 2021.
  20. Venkatasubramanian, A.; Patnaik, A. (14 July 2023). "National digital health legislation: lessons and recommendations". Oxford Open Digital Health. 1 (1).
  21. "Salud digital e innovación en Argentina: Un plan de acción parlamentaria". Universidad de Buenos Aires. 15 October 2023.
  22. "Venkatasubramanian, A. "Ecoepidemiology and transmission dynamics of seasonal waterborne diseases: A qualitative observation in the Colombian Amazon"". American Public Health Association. 15 November 2019.
  23. "Asha experience: about us". Asha Experience. 3 June 2023.
  24. "LinkedIn: posts by Smisha Agarwal". LinkedIn. 10 August 2023.
  25. "The ILO's role in digitally-enabled health and social systems Clarifying the interactions between digital technologies, social protection and human rights". Archive. 21 August 2023.
  26. "The case for health data regulations". Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. 5 May 2020.
  27. "Amekudzi K, Venkatasubramanian A, et al, 2021. L'enquête mondiale de l'OIT sur la discrimination liée au VIH dans le monde du travail. International Labour Organization, 2021" (PDF). International Labour Organization. 7 July 2022.

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