The Trustees of Columbia University have approved a new endowed professorship in global health at the Mailman School of Public Health. The inaugural recipient is Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and director of ICAP and an internationally recognized leader in prevention and care of people with HIV/AIDS globally. Through the generosity of the Hess Foundation at the bequest of Norma Hess, and of amfAR The Foundation for AIDS Research, Dr. El-Sadr will be the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR chair of global health.
This professorship honors Dr. El-Sadr as a global health pioneer. As the director of ICAP, established in 2003 to conduct transformative care delivery and prevention, as well as research to improve the lives of people around the world, Dr. El-Sadr, has led the historic scale-up of access to treatment in some of the countries most severely affected by HIV. Today one of every five people being treated for HIV — 2.2 million people in more than 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia — does so with ICAP support. Together with colleagues in New York and around the world, Dr. El-Sadr has in a visionary and effective way, enhanced laboratory, technical and clinical infrastructure in partnership with leaders in-country, and developed education and mentorship for those providing care and extending prevention. In 2008, Dr. El-Sadr was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the Genius Award, for her creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions for the future.
Beyond leading in implementation and scale-up of HIV/AIDS programs, Dr. El-Sadr has championed the importance of knowledge-generation, furthering ICAP’s vibrant research agenda. These contributions have advanced knowledge in HIV prevention and treatment, management of HIV, tuberculosis and other conditions, and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. In the last year, ICAP embarked on the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment project, a major endeavor to assess the status of the HIV epidemic in several sub-Saharan African countries with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As a highly regarded educator, Dr. El-Sadr is also University Professor and professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and works with master’s and doctoral students from all over the Mailman School pursuing careers in global health and infectious disease. She also leads the Global Health Initiative, working to foster interdisciplinary collaborations on key global health issues across our school. She maintains a practice at Harlem Hospital where she has provided care to patients with HIV for several decades.
“Dr. El-Sadr has brought global distinction to the Mailman School and Columbia University, warm collegiality to researchers and public health leaders all over the world, and humanity and empathy to those living with HIV and AIDS,” said Dean Linda P. Fried. “It is particularly appropriate that this professorship is named for Dr. Mathilde Krim, a legend in the HIV response.”
“It has been a privilege to have worked with so many remarkable people over the past decades,” said Dr. El-Sadr. “They have been the true inspiration behind all of my work.”