Prasanna Nair, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Prasanna Nair has served in Maryland for the past four decades, working within the field of Primary Health Care, specifically with infants of mothers with HIV/AIDS or substance abuse issues.

Originally from India, Dr. Nair moved to Maryland in 1960 to begin her medical residency in pediatrics at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, having completed her medical training at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in Delhi. Dr. Nair passed the American Board of Pediatrics in 1965 and received her Masters Degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1982. She has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1970.

Since arriving in Maryland, Dr. Nair has been involved directly in serving and caring for children, as well as encouraging the education and commitment of medical students to further advance pediatric medicine. From 1975 to 1985, Dr. Nair worked as the director of the Community Pediatric Center, a federal children and youth project at the University of Maryland. This program was extremely valuable in providing health care to inner city and low-income family children who would otherwise have not received primary health care. From here, Dr. Nair contributed to the education of medical students while a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine through the Junior Year Pediatric Clerkship, which she directed from 1985 to 2000.

While a leader in academic fields, Dr. Nair has also been a leader in medical and social outreach programs, founding the Special Parent Infant Care and Enrichment clinic (SPICE) in 1970. The SPICE clinic works to care for infants of HIV-positive women at the University of Maryland, and therefore not only serves this at-risk group of children but also contributes valuable research and experience to the field of pediatric medicine.

In addition to working directly with pediatric patients and students, Dr. Nair has published more than twenty-eight scientific papers in pediatric journals throughout her career. She has specifically worked with the natural history of HIV infection in infants born to infected mothers and transmission of HIV to infants. Her research in this field has been invaluable in understanding the nature of HIV infection in children. Dr. Nair also continues to give professional conferences and consultations in hospitals in Kerala, Bombay and Delhi, India. Throughout the course of her career, Dr. Nair has served on numerous committees dedicated to medical care and research for children, particularly children who are members of at-risk groups, such as those from low-income families or those whose parents have HIV/AIDS or substance abuse problems.

Dr. Nair has received many awards for her work within pediatric medicine, including a 1985 award of recognition of service from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and a certificate of appreciation as a member of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 1998. The Baltimore City Commission of Health also commended her service and in 1985, Mayor Donald Schaefer designated December 6 as “Prasanna Nair Day” in Baltimore.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2007.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2007