Dr. Sania Nishtar

President & Founder, Heartfile

Sania Nishtar graduated from medical school in 1986, top of her class with 16 gold medals, a college record that remains unbroken. In 1999 she left a lucrative career as Pakistan’s first female cardiologist to establish a nonprofit think tank, Heartfile, which today is the most powerful voice in health policy, a catalyst for health reform in Pakistan and recognized as a model for replication in other developing countries.

She is the founder of many other health institutions, including Pakistan’s Health Policy Forum and Heartfile Financing, a program that protects individuals against health impoverishment. In 2013 she served as a Federal Minister in Pakistan’s Interim Government, where she held four portfolios, including Education and Trainings, Science and Technology, Information Technology and Telecom, and Health.

Sania Nishtar is a member of several Expert Working Groups and Task Forces of the World Health Organisation, a member of the board of the International Union for Health Promotion, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. She is Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council, a member of the Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health and the Clinton Global Initiative, and serves as Chair of GAVI’s Evaluation Advisory Committee. She led the Pakistan Lancet Series on Health Reform. Nishtar has previously headed many global initiatives, including the award winning Global World Heart Day campaign.

Sania Nishtar is a key health policy voice in Pakistan, the author of Pakistan’s first health reform plan, Pakistan’s first compendium of health statistics, and the country’s first national public health plan for NCDs. One of her books, an analysis of Pakistan’s health systems, became the blueprint for the country’s health policy.

As a researcher, Sania Nishtar has authored 6 books, more than 100 peer review articles and around the same number of op-eds. She is a recipient of Pakistan’s Sitara e-Imtiaz, a presidential award, the European Societies Population Science Award, and accolades from the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge and the American Biographical Center. In 2011, she received the prestigious Global Innovation award, which was given to four individuals in the world. Sania Nishtar holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and a Ph.D. from Kings College, London.