Ashwin Vasan, ScM, MD, PhD is a primary care physician and public health expert with more than 15 years of experience working to improve health (mental+physical), social welfare, and public policy for vulnerable populations. Since 2014 he has been on the faculty at Mailman and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons where he cares for low-income, Medicaid/Medicare or uninsured patients from Washington Heights, Harlem, and the South Bronx as a primary care internist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He is currently the President & CEO of Fountain House, one of the world's oldest and largest community-based mental health and public health charities, founded in NYC in 1948, and with over 300 affiliates in 30 countries, serving more than 100,000 people living with mental illness. His mandate is to expand and integrate the organization to build "The Planned Parenthood for Mental Health", which leverages its human service platform to affect policy and political change for mental health and social justice. From 2016-2019 Dr Vasan was appointed as the founding Executive Director of the Health Access Equity Unit at the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, a first of its kind public sector health program that leveraged the agency's assets in surveillance, research, program design, implementation science, and policy development to improve community-based health and human services for the most vulnerable and overlooked populations in the City, including people involved in the criminal justice system. In this role, built the bureau and led the development of the NYC Health Justice Network, a health and social sector partnership providing trauma-informed, peer-led community-based health and human services to people involved in the justice system and their families. Early in his career, Dr Vasan spent nearly a decade at the intersection of global health, HIV, and primary care working with Partners In Health (PIH) in Rwanda, Lesotho, and Boston, and the World Health Organization in Uganda and Geneva (under former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim). Dr Vasan worked as a Technical Officer on the WHO/UNAIDS "3by5 Initiative" to expand HIV treatment access in the developing world, and then supported the Ugandan government in scale-up and quality improvement of HIV treatment in four districts in the southwest of the country, the first areas to attempt front-line treatment. At PIH he supported programs in Boston, Lesotho, and Rwanda, where he led efforts to improve primary care delivery using WHO Integrated Management guidelines. At Mailman, prior to departing for NYC DOHMH, Dr Vasan was also the Deputy Director of the ARCHES (Advancing Research on Comprehensive Health Systems) program, a $17M Doris-Duke funded program of community health systems development and implementation science in Ghana and Tanzania.
ScM, 2004, Harvard School of Public Health
MD, 2011, University of Michigan
PhD, 2015, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Faculty Affiliate, Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC)
Assistant Attending Physician, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Assistant Professor, Division of General Medicine, College of Physicians & Surgeons