Dr Bala Murali Sundram

Dr Bala Murali Sundram is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Occupational and Environmental Health Discipline, at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He completed his Master (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from Universiti Malaya.

His areas of research interest are in Public Health, mainly in Occupational Health, Environmental Health,  Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Disease Surveillance, Predictive analytics in Public Health, Mental health and psycho-social biomarkers at the workplace. He has headed various critical and important posts in the Public Health Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) as a Public Health Medicine Specialist before joining Universiti Malaya as a Senior Lecturer. Some of his notable positions in the Ministry of Health were as District Health Officer in Kunak, Sabah, Head of Occupational Health Unit and Biomedical Epidemiology Unit in the Institute for Medical Research (IMR)- National Institute of Health (NIH) and Head of Disease Surveillance and Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC),  Johor State Health Department.

He played a significant role and contributed immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic in disease surveillance, translational and impactful research for the relevant stakeholders, quarantine and isolation strategies, international health regulation and border health policies and state vaccination strategies during his tenure in MOH. Following this, he received recognition and the Exemplary Service Award (Anugerah Perkhidmatan Awam) from the Johor State Health Department, Ministry of Health Malaysia.

He has headed several internal and external research collaborations in the Ministry of Health Malaysia, University Malaya, the United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) and other external research institutes like the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia and the Malaysian Meteorological Department. He obtained various research grants such as MOH research grants and UNDP research grants as Primary Investigator. He was also involved as a co-investigator in some external research grants like FRGS grants.

His research work has been presented at local and international conferences and has been published and cited in some high-impact and peer-reviewed ISI journals in the field of public health. His work has also been accepted as a book publication in one of the international publishing groups. He was involved in the Public Health Subgroup in the Technical Working Group for the Vulnerability and Adaptation as well as Research and Systematic Observation for the 3rd National Communication and Biennial Update Report in which Malaysia is a signatory to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He was a member of the Thematic Working Group 6 for Contingency, Preparedness and Response Plan for Environmental Health Disaster, National Environmental Health Action Plan (NEHAP), Ministry of Health. He was a member of the SCHEMA Working Group for the United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health and Institutional Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee (IBBC).

His technical skills and knowledge allowed him to be chosen as a Medical Coordinator, Lead Evaluator and Controller in various Disease Surveillance and CBNRe (chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological and explosives) field simulation exercises and activities involving MOH, STRIDE-MinDEF, ASEAN Regional Capacity on Disaster Health Management (ARCH) and  WHO. He has mentored and supervised numerous candidates in the Mentor-Mentee Program for the Public Health Medicine Speciality, MOH Malaysia. He is also attached to professional bodies like the Malaysian Medical Association, and Malaysian Society of Occupational Health Doctors and is a scientific committee member of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH).