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Piya Sorcar (Bengali: পিয়া সরকার, born 1977) is an American social entrepreneur and researcher.[1] She is the founder and CEO of TeachAIDS, and is a lecturer at Stanford University.[2]

Piya Sorcar
Anushka Shetty - TeachAIDS at Tech Awards Gala (13565635243).jpg
Sorcar speaking at The Tech Awards in 2013
Born1977 (age 41–42)
ResidenceSilicon Valley, California
Alma materUniversity of Colorado (BA, BS, BS)
Stanford University (MA, PhD)
OccupationFounder & CEO, TeachAIDS
Lecturer, Stanford University
Parent(s)Manick Sorcar, Shikha Sorcar


Sorcar was born in Colorado, the eldest daughter of artist and engineer Manick Sorcar and Shikha Sorcar, and the granddaughter of the pre-eminent magician P. C. Sorcar and Basanti Devi.[3] As a child actor, she was nominated for a regional Emmy Award for her performance in the short film Deepa & Rupa: A Fairy Tale from India, directed by her father,[4][5] which went on to win at the Chicago International Film Festival.[6]


Sorcar with President of Botswana, Festus Mogae launching TeachAIDS in Botswana in 2010

She began the development of TeachAIDS at Stanford, where it was the focus of her doctoral research.[7] In 2009, she founded it as a nonprofit partnered with the university.[8] She was quoted saying that "Working with a team of interdisciplinary experts at Stanford University, I conducted extensive research over 5+ years to develop an innovative approach to teaching about HIV education which would bypass taboos and maximize learning and retention."

This included using 2D cartoon images (which balance clarity and comfort), a rigorous, research-based translation/back-translation process, incorporation of mnemonic devices, and integration of recognized voices of regionally-specific cultural icons, among other discoveries.[9] She has led TeachAIDS to produce many versions of its interactive HIV prevention software,[10] which are now used in more than 80 countries.[2][11] Her work has included directing Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Shruti Haasan, Amol Palekar, Imran Khan, and Akkineni Nagarjuna.[12][13]

Sorcar teaches at the Stanford University School of Medicine, on the design of research-based global health interventions.[14]

In 2011, MIT Technology Review named her to their TR35 list of the top 35 most innovative people in the world under 35.[1] In 2012, she and TeachAIDS were named one of 12 global laureates of The Tech Awards.[15]


  1. ^ a b Naone, Erica (2011-09-01). "Top 35 Innovators in the World: Dr. Piya Sorcar". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  2. ^ a b Sherwood, Christina Hernandez (2013-01-14). "Q&A: Piya Sorcar, founder and CEO of TeachAIDS". ZDNet. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  3. ^ "Suriya, Anushka support AIDS awareness campaign". The New Indian Express. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  4. ^ "1991 Emmy Nominees". National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 1991-09-01. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  5. ^ "Deepa & Rupa: A Fairy Tale from India: Full Cast & Crew". Internet Movie Database. 1991-09-01. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  6. ^ "Video Reviews: Deepa & Rupa". Hinduism Today. 1994-11-15. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  7. ^ Kamenetz, Anya (2013-04-10). "Research finally shows that online education works — for sex, alcohol and health". NBC News. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  8. ^ McClure, Max (2012-07-25). "Stanford-affiliated nonprofit sets standard for AIDS education". Stanford News. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  9. ^ "Piya Sorcar: Celebrities, Taboos and TeachAIDS".
  10. ^ Irani, Mahafreed (2011-09-24). "Moving pictures, moving minds". The Times of India. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  11. ^ "Animated course on HIV education in Odia to be launched". The Telegraph. 2014-11-21. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  12. ^ Tsering, Lisa (2014-12-05). "Amitabh Bachchan Joins S.F. Bay Area Nonprofit TeachAIDS". India West. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  13. ^ Naig, Udhave (2013-11-26). "Animated teaching". The Hindu. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  14. ^ "EDUC 335X: Designing Research-Based Interventions to Solve Global Health Problems". Stanford University Course Catalog. 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  15. ^ "2012 Global Laureate Profile: TeachAIDS". The Tech Awards. 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2015-07-11.