Purnima is visiting professorial fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is the former president and CEO of Pathfinder International, a global non-profit organization based in Boston that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has served in a variety of senior leadership positions in United Nations organizations in New York and Geneva, including the United Nations Population Fund, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Purnima also serves on several boards as director, including the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation; she is one of the founding editors of the journal Culture, Health & Sexuality; and she serves on editorial advisory committees of journals such as the International Journal of Sexual Health, among others.
Purnima was a post-doctoral Fulbright fellow, a policy fellow with the Bellagio Center Residency Program of the Rockefeller Foundation, and a recipient of the International Institute of Education and Fulbright Foundation’s Global Changemaker Award. She holds a PhD, M Phil, and MA in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai, India, and a BA in psychology from St. Xavier’s College, in Mumbai.