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Biotech Billionaire Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Invests in KGI’s Community Medicine Program

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) has received a million-dollar gift from Indian billionaire entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and her husband, John Shaw, to establish a scholarship fund for the Master of Science in Community Medicine (MSCM) program within the School of Medicine.

Mazumdar-Shaw is the founder and Chairperson of Biocon, India’s largest publicly listed biopharmaceutical enterprise. Named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, Mazumdar-Shaw is recognized as a global leader in science and innovation. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees at KGI.

As a pipeline program into healthcare careers, the two-year, MSCM program launched in fall 2021. The program’s goal is to prepare community medicine practitioners and leaders who work in underserved and underrepresented communities for careers devoted to improving health, preventing illness and injury, and detecting treatable medical conditions early enough to avoid premature death and unnecessary poor health.

Mazumdar-Shaw’s gift will establish the Mazumdar-Shaw Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships to traditionally underserved students pursuing careers in community medicine.

“Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw’s generous gift will inspire others to assist more students with the cost of their medical education,” KGI President Dr. Sheldon Schuster said.

“Her support will create a pathway for diverse, first-generation graduates to enter the healthcare workforce and serve underrepresented communities.”

Mazumdar-Shaw has pushed for affordable healthcare in India, and her belief is that KGI’s program will help address some of the healthcare problems in the United States.

“We will build on Mazumdar-Shaw’s legacy of expanding healthcare access,” KGI Dean Dr. David Lawrence said. “We are embracing innovation in charting a new path for medical education in the United States. Our diverse students will become leaders in serving the underserved.”

Unable to obtain a medical school scholarship after university, Mazumdar-Shaw decided to study fermentation science and train as a master brewer—following in her father’s footsteps. Unable to find work in this “man’s field” in India, she sought a position in Scotland. Before she could leave India, Mazumdar-Shaw was recruited by the founder of Irish company Biocon Biochemicals to establish a subsidiary in India. She started Biocon India in her garage as an industrial enzymes manufacturer, eventually expanding into biopharmaceuticals.

Now the wealthiest woman in her home country, Mazumdar-Shaw focuses her attention on philanthropic efforts to expand access to quality healthcare, education, and infrastructure in India. Mazumdar-Shaw signed the Giving Pledge in 2015, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

“I have been giving away half of my income towards philanthropy on an annual basis,” Mazumdar-Shaw wrote in her pledge letter. “I believe innovation and commerce are as powerful for driving technological advancement as they are for creating social progress… I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference to global healthcare through affordable innovation.”