Dr. Mahmood is currently the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health, and began her mandate in April 2020. She is also a member of the Government of Malaysia’s Economic Action Council, and is actively engaged in the COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives both on the health, economic and social fronts. In September 2020, she was appointed as a Senior Fellow at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre to help them reach the goal of making One Billion people more resilient to climate change, migration, and human security challenges by 2030.
Prior to this, she was the Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in January 2016. Her portfolio involves partnership and resource development, strategy, policy, knowledge, as well as global communications. Under her leadership, IFRC developed a global innovation, including a futures and foresight unit, and pioneered the use of Islamic social finance to address humanitarian crises.
Before joining the IFRC, Dr. Mahmood was the Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations in New York. She is well known as the founder of MERCY Malaysia, which she led from 1999-2009, and her previous appointments include Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch at UNFPA; Senior Fellow at Khazanah Nasional Berhad in Malaysia’s Khazanah Research and Investment Strategy Division, and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Humanitarian Futures Programme at Kings College in London. From 2006-2009, she was one of 16 members appointed by United Nations Secretary-General to the Inaugural Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Dr. Mahmood has held many Board positions in NGOs and INGOs and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for her contribution to civil society and work in support of marginalized communities, including the first Isa Award for Services to Humanity from the Kingdom of Bahrain. She was also the recipient of the ASEAN Prize in 2019. She was appointed as a Civil Society Governor of the Commonwealth Foundation until December 2019, and is currently a board member of the Global Responsible Finance Institute. She is also a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) since 2004. Since 2019, she has served on the Board of Directors of the National University of Malaysia. In October 2020, she was also appointed as a Board of Trustee of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation in Malaysia. She is passionate about innovation, local leadership in humanitarian action, Islamic finance and planetary health.
Dr Mahmood graduated as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the National University of Malaysia, has a Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the same university and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists United Kingdom. She also completed executive education at the International Management and Development Centre, IMD Lausanne.