Trained as a physician in Bangalore Medical College, Poornima has a Master’s in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Social Medicine from the University of Bristol, UK. Her doctoral work in the Andhra Pradesh Children and Parents Study (APCAPS) brought to focus the importance of a life-course approach in the prevention and management of lifestyle and metabolic disorders.
She is currently Additional Professor, Head, Environmental Health and Director of the Centre for Environmental Health at the Public Health Foundation of India where she leads a team of nearly 20 researchers and consultants on research, training, advocacy and capacity building for environmental health issues spanning air pollution, climate change, water, sanitation and hygiene, chemical and heavy metal exposures and children’s environmental health. She leads activities at the Centre of Excellence in PHFI under the National Program for Climate Change and Human Health of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to promote Climate-smart health care within public health systems. She recently served as Chair of the research Sub-committee in the WHO-GCHA CSO working group for Climate change and health, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Climate and Health Alliance and co-chair of the Steering group of the Health and Climate Network. She is also affiliated with the Centre for Chronic Disease Control as Senior Research Scientist and leads work with the Health and Environment Leadership Platform(HELP- https://greenhospitalsindia.com/)- the India arm of Health Care Without Harm’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals.