Rhodes Scholar returns to Detroit to lead restructuring of Detroit Health Department

DETROIT, MI – Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015, the appointment of Metro Detroit native Dr. Abdul El-Sayed as Executive Director of the Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion (DHWP).Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

Dr. El-Sayed is a Rhodes Scholar and an internationally recognized expert in the social determinants of health, health disparities, preterm birth and infant mortality, and obesity. At just 30 years of age, he has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications in journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Preventive Medicine, and Pediatrics.

“Dr. El-Sayed is a remarkably accomplished and talented public health administrator,” said Mayor Duggan. “He will lead the restructuring of our health department to start addressing overall community health in a holistic way that hasn’t been done the past. We’re excited to have him back in Detroit as part of a team that blends the very best of talent from Detroit and around the country.”

In his new role, Dr. El-Sayed will oversee DHWP and other health-related issues that fall under the auspices of city government. He also will work with various City of Detroit departments and community stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition of programs and public health services that are returning to direct City of Detroit control.

Before returning to Detroit, El-Sayed was a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, where he directed the Columbia University Systems Science Program and Global Research Analytics for Population Health. At Columbia, he managed a team of over 20 researchers with a research budget more than $1.2 million with funding from various sources, including the federal government and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Dr. El-Sayed earned an MD from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons as a Soros Fellow, a doctorate in Public Health as a Rhodes Scholar, and his bachelor’s from the University of Michigan with Highest Distinction in Biology and Political Science and delivered the senior commencement address alongside President Bill Clinton.

“It’s an honor to come back home and serve the citizens of Detroit,” said Dr. El-Sayed. “I look forward to building on current efforts by the city around immunization, maternal-child health, and HIV/AIDS, as well as working with organizations like Think Detroit PAL that positively impact children’s health and well-being. Harnessing community goodwill is a critical component to addressing Detroit’s health disparities.”

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