Founder of Swami Vivekanada youth movement (SVYM)
As a 19 year old medical student in Mysore, India, Dr. Ramaswami Balasurbramaniam, known as “Balu”, founded a non-profit organization that today is one of the most well regarded and comprehensive social service non-profit organizations in India. Balu founded the Swami Vivekanada youth movement (SVYM) in 1984 to address the medical needs of tribal people who had been displaced from the forest following the construction of a large dam. SVYM has grown rapidly and now provides medical care (major hospitals and a network of rural clinics), secondary education, civic empowerment, HIV care, micro finance, soil conservation, water harvesting, training in agricultural practices, Indian cultural studies and non-profit management.
Balu holds a number of appointed positions within the Indian Government including a seat on the National Planning Council, Karnataka Knowledge Council; and the Tiger Conservancy Board. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of International Health Management and consults with the World Bank. Currently, Balu is establishing a grassroots-based policy research and advocacy institute within SVYM, and he is also a Special Investigator of the Lok Ayukta (anti-corruption agency), investigating issues of corruption and mal-administration in the public distribution system of Karnataka.
Balu holds a medical degree from Mysore College of Medicine. He also holds the Master in Philosophy in Hospital and Health Systems Management, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, and two years ago, he completed the Mason Fellowship in Public Policy and Management and the Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was also a mid-career Fellow at the Hausner Center for Non-Profits, Harvard University, and was previously a Tata Scholar.