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Meet Dr. Manan K.: Verana Health Quantitative Scientist – Honored by GV as a ‘Champion of Change’

Author: Verana Health
June 2021

For Manan K., PhD, the fight for equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice knows no boundaries. Whether at work as a senior quantitative scientist at Verana Health, spearheading the construction of a shrine to commemorate fallen LGBTQ+ community members, or taking part in the Bay Area’s impassioned George Floyd Rebellion, Manan embodies the concept of living a fully authentic life at all times — and fighting to give others the right to do the same.

Verana Health couldn’t be more proud to announce that Manan has been selected by GV (formerly Google Ventures) for its inaugural Champions of Change list, announced June 17. In honor of Juneteenth, GV is showcasing 10 outstanding people from over 400 submissions across the GV portfolio who have had an impact on their company’s or industry’s approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Manan and the nine other honorees are doing hard, hands-on work to foster diversity, push for equity, and build a culture of inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Here’s what you need to know about Verana Health’s own Champion of Change, who is proof that one person truly can make a difference.

Name: Manan K., PhD

Position: Senior Quantitative Scientist, Quantitative Sciences, Verana Health

Pronouns: Him/they

Career Journey: Trained as a solar physicist, Manan entered the health technology space with a passion for improving patient care across diverse communities. At Verana Health, Manan executes real-world evidence (RWE) research in ophthalmology and neurology, curates disease data stories in the American Academy of Neurology’s Axon Registry®, and actively develops strategies for more equitable and inclusive health technology research methodologies. Prior to Verana Health, Manan was a postdoctoral research scientist at Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory and has a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Personal Activism: As a queer person of South Asian descent, Manan believes strongly in pursuing equity and social justice through community organizing. They co-founded and facilitated Roobaroo, a Bay Area-based dialogue and support group for queer, transgender, and gender non-binary people of South Asian heritage. During Pride 2020, Manan co-led the creation of a shrine in Mission Dolores Park to commemorate ancestors of the LGBTQ+ community who lost their lives in the struggle toward equality. And this past year, they have been active in the George Floyd Rebellion and other movements that address racism and racial inequities, including speaking out in support of Palestinian rights and for caste abolition in South Asia.

Core Values at Work: With personal activism as a backbone, Manan has advocated bringing one’s whole self to work, including the parts of one’s mind and heart occupied by societal issues. Manan’s passion for promoting a work culture where it is safe to be yourself has permeated the Verana Health culture and started a dialogue around inclusive hiring practices, bias training, and bias in data and algorithms. As a data scientist, it is a personal mission of Manan to help advance diversity in clinical trials and they are helping to do this from the bottom up.

Sage Advice: To foster equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, Manan offers this guidance:

“Start developing coalitions, solidarity, and educational frameworks for external movements early in your organization through active conversations with colleagues and leadership.

This is especially valuable in rapidly growing organizations as they demonstrate their commitment to equity and inclusion to a diverse talent pool.”

Words to Live By: This quote by the late Dr. Toni Morrison is foundational to Manan’s values: “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” 

The opinions expressed by our employees do not necessarily represent those of Verana Health. But we believe a commitment to diversity and inclusion means that all voices and beliefs deserve to be heard.