Celine R Gounder, an Indian-origin epidemiologist in the United States, was named a member of the COVID-19 Advisory Board of American President-elect Joe Biden. Dr Celine Gounder has Tamil roots, similar to Vice-President elect Kamala Harris. Hearing about her appointment, Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and leader of the opposition party MK Stalin came forth to wish her.
Another south Indian who made it to the task force is Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general. His family was originally from Karnataka.
Congratulating both Celine and Karnataka origin Vivek Murthy, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami tweeted, "I'm extremely happy that @celinegounder & @vivek_murthy have been appointed in the National Pandemic Taskforce of US to combat #COVID19. Both of them have made India proud and I'm very glad to learn that Dr Celine Gounder has a Tamil heritage. My best wishes to both of them."
I'm extremely happy that @celinegounder & @vivek_murthy have been appointed in the National Pandemic Taskforce of US to combat #COVID19. Both of them have made India proud and I'm very glad to learn that Dr.Celine Gounder has a Tamil heritage. My best wishes to both of them. pic.twitter.com/b6EkrmOKB8- Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) November 10, 2020
DMK's leader MK Stalin wrote, "Glad to hear about the appointment of Celine Gounder to the President-elect Joe Biden's National Pandemic Taskforce to combat Covid-19. Happy to hear about the appointment of a woman of Tamil origin to this crucial task force."
Glad to hear about the appointment of @celinegounder to the President-Elect Joe Biden's National Pandemic Taskforce to combat COVID-19. Happy to hear about the appointment of a woman of Tamil origin to this crucial task force.
Congratulations & Best wishes. pic.twitter.com/qmMH7gjZQ9- M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) November 10, 2020
Gounder's father is from Tamil Nadu. She is a practicing HIV/infectious diseases specialist and internist, epidemiologist, journalist and filmmaker, as per her Linkedin page.
Acknowledging and thanking the wishes that were sent to her from Tamil Nadu, Gounder in a Twitter thread explained why she continues to retain her caste name as her last name. "My father changed his name to Gounder in the early 1970s before I was born. My name is my name. It's part of my history and identity, even if some of that history is painful. I didn't change my name when I got married. I'm not changing it now," she wrote.
My people in Tamil Nadu, India are very proud: pic.twitter.com/xtFzCFNrdM- Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) November 10, 2020