Balram Bhargava

Secretary, DHR & Director General, ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research


Professor (Dr) Balram Bhargava was born in Lucknow, 21st July 1961. He received all his medical training at the King George’s Medical College Lucknow. Further, he received advanced training at the Gardiner Institute, University of Glasgow and the Washington Heart Centre, Washington DC. Balram Bhargava is Professor of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and also serves as the Executive Director for Stanford India Biodesign Centre, School of International Biodesign (SiB). Recently he has taken over as Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research cum Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Professor (Dr) Balram Bhargava is an outstanding cardiologist, one of the foremost leaders in biomedical innovation, public health, medical education and medical research. He has during his tenure as faculty at AIIMS for over 25 years treated about a quarter million patients and trained over 200 cardiologists who are now leading several departments/hospitals in India and abroad. Professor Bhargava has excellent leadership qualities; and has established the School of International Biodesign at AIIMS, a unique interdisciplinary fellowship programme to foster innovation, design in low cost implants/devices. This school in its ten years since inception has trained nearly 100 young innovators (doctors, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs) and has led to development of 30 low cost medical devices leading to 10 startups. Five of the low cost devices are in the Indian market and one device has been approved by the USFDA. He developed the indigenous Platinum Iridium coil coronary stent and has been instrumental in clinically evaluating and establishing the use of medicated Indian stents (Supralimius, Sahajanand Medical Technologies, Surat and Release-T, Relisys Medicals, Hyderabad).These low cost indigenous stents have benefitted several thousand patients. The philosophy of the programme has been “More for less for more” with a mandate to promote Global Affordable Need Driven Healthcare Innovation (GANDHI) He set up the c-GMP Centre for Excellence for Stem Cell Studies, at AIIMS which has initiated treatment of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy; this has benefitted number of no-option heart failure patients waiting on the cardiac transplant list. He is currently providing leadership for creative disease prevention, early detection and transport system for sick cardiac patients; mission DELHI (Delhi Emergency Life Heart-attack Initiative) by trained motorcycle first respondent paramedics. He is an innovator par excellence with innovations touching everyday lives with very huge social impact for which he has started the Society for Less Investigative Medicine (SLIM). He has published several papers on the harmful cardiovascular effects of chewing tobacco and is evaluating the continuous blood pressure of DTC bus drivers in Delhi. He has led two major trials in India funded by the NIH, Bethesda, USA which has changed clinical practice. He has pioneered several techniques in interventional cardiology. He has been awarded the SN Bose Centenary award by the Indian National Science Congress and National Academy of Sciences Platinum Jubilee Award, Tata Innovation Fellowship and Vasvik Award for Biomedical Technology Innovation, Ranbaxy Award and the OP Bhasin Award in the field of Health and Medical Sciences. He is the Founding, Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal Innovations (BMJi). He has been awarded the Padma Shri and the UNESCO Equatorial Guinea International Prize for research in Life Sciences at Paris.