The Milken Institute’s Anusuya Chatterjee

After You Swim Around the Great Barrier Reef, It’s Hardly Worth Going Into the Ocean for Anything Less Spectacular

Anusuya Chatterjee is a principal at Stradalytics and a fellow at the Milken Institute, an economic think tank. An economist, Chatterjee has led research efforts on a number of Milken Institute’s highest-profile programs, such as chronic disease prevention and management, obesity, the economics of nutrition, investment in medical technologies, and aging. Before participating in a panel discussion about technology’s impact on our health, she visited the Zócalo green room to talk about her medicine cabinet, her hometown of Kolkata, India, and her relationship to ghosts.

Q:
What superpower would you most like to have?

A:
Lots of energy and lots of time for the day because I want to do many things, starting with work-life balance.

Q:
What’s the strangest item in your medicine cabinet?

A:
I don’t have any strange items. It’s mostly Advil and painkillers.

Q:
What’s something most people don’t know about your hometown?

A:
I’m from Calcutta, which is now Kolkata. I would like to say everybody knows it’s where Mother Teresa did her charity work. What others don’t know is it’s a very vibrant city and could’ve been one of the sister cities for London.

Q:
What’s the first line of your obituary?

A:
Wherever I am, I’m happy.

Q:
If you could live in one other city, which would it be?

A:
I now live in New York. Any other city would be Santa Monica. [Because you like to swim in the ocean?] I have swum in the ocean in Australia, at the Great Barrier Reef. Since I’ve done the best, I don’t go for anything below that.

Q:
Where and when did you learn how to swim?

A:
I learned in my hometown, when I was a kid. I took classes at a pool.

Q:
What’s your biggest pet peeve?

A:
I am very scared of ghostly presences. The other world haunts me.

Q:
You do research on the “economics of nutrition”—what is the most expensive thing you’ve ever eaten that provided very little nutrition?

A:
I think at many fancy restaurants, they don’t necessarily provide you with good nutrition. I don’t remember spending lots of money on chips or anything, which I know are definitely not nutritious.

Q:
What’s your go-to karaoke song?

A:
I would never do karaoke.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.