Fountain House, a world-renowned mental health organization, announced the appointment of Dr. Ashwin Vasan, assistant professor of population and family health and medicine at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, as its new president and CEO. An expert in public health policy, and political and social advocacy, Dr. Vasan will advance Fountain House’s work around mental illness, healthcare, homelessness, criminal justice, and social welfare for marginalized people and communities.
A primary care physician, academic, and public servant committed to improving the lives of vulnerable people, Dr. Vasan teaches graduate students and trainees in medicine, population health, and implementation science, in addition to caring for patients. He maintains his academic affiliation with Columbia while leading Fountain House.
Earlier, Dr. Vasan worked at Partners In Health and at the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase access to HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) treatment in the global South. He spent time in Rwanda and Lesotho while with Partners In Health, focusing on HIV, health systems and strengthening primary care delivery. Later, as the founding executive director of the Health Access Equity Unit at the New York City Department of Health, he led the first municipal program focused on the intersection of public health, clinical systems, and the social welfare needs of marginalized populations, including people living with mental illness in the justice system.
“Fountain House’s model has proven, over 70 years, to redirect trajectories and improve outcomes. I want to maintain what makes this organization great, and what has prompted hundreds of others to replicate it around the world, while building a political and social movement that elevates these issues,” said Dr. Vasan.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on September 20