Usha received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from University of Allahabad, India in 1973 and since then lived a life steeped in service of others. She served as an expert for the World Health Organization in the area of Mental Health and Social Change and with United Nations’ bodies. Most recently she was serving as the Chair for the Stigma & Discrimination group, USAID, Global Health Evidence Summit.
Among other international board and consultancy roles, Dr. Nayar contributed to the formulation of many policies in India, such as the National Youth Policy, National Policy for Population and Family Welfare, and the National Child Labor Policy. She was on the expert committee of the Commonwealth Youth Development Index based out of London, United Kingdom. Additionally Dr. Nayar served as the Presidential Nominee for universities in India.
She used her expertise in these fields to teach and mentor others and was the former Provost of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, India. She also brought this expertise across the pond, teaching at the New School for Social Research as well as at Adelphi University. Her specializations grew from social issues related to vulnerable and marginalized groups to building social capital in communities, specifically with regards to the development of girls in India. This further developed into studying yoga from a developmental perspective.
She was an incredible source of inspiration to her friends, colleague, and family members. And, as busy as she was, her generous and loving personality meant that she was always available to lend a comforting ear with a cup of chai.
Most importantly, she was a loving mother to her daughter, Priya S. Nayar. Anyone who knew Dr. Nayar, also knew of Priya and how very proud she was of her daughter. She passed in Priya’s arms at Mount Sinai East Hospital in Manhattan, NY, USA on February 17th, 2021 at 10:27am Eastern Standard Time.
Along with her loving family in New Jersey, Gurgaon, New Delhi, Allahabad and Bombay – Priya, Avantika, and their companion dog, Rustom will greatly miss their beloved Ma.