Ashwin Vasan

Ashwin Vasan

Ashwin Vasan

Assistant Professor of Clinical
Population and Family Health and Medicine




Ashwin Vasan, ScM, MD, PhD is a primary care physician, epidemiologist and public health expert with nearly 20 years of experience working to improve health (mental+physical), social welfare, and public policy for vulnerable populations. He is the 44th Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene as of March 2022, where he will focus on ongoing management of and recovery from COVID-19, establishing innovative population mental health approaches, revitalizing the agency's storied work on chronic disease prevention and health equity, and capturing momentum to strengthen the public health business model for the 21st Century. Since 2014 he has been on the faculty at Mailman in Population & Family Health, focusing on implementation science and global health, 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. Most recently he was President & CEO of Fountain House, one of the world's oldest and largest community-based mental health and public health charities focusing on the intersecting health and social needs of people most impacted by mental illness. During his tenure the organization embarked on an ambitious new strategic plan, including the successful launch of a $75 million fundraising campaign, expansion to 8 markets across the US, and the creation of a national mental health policy office in Washington DC, including the establishment of a 501c4 political advocacy arm of the organization to launch in 2022. Dr Vasan spent nearly a decade working 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 in-country training and clinical programs and led efforts to improve primary care delivery using WHO Integrated Management guidelines. .


ScM, 2004, Harvard School of Public Health
MD, 2011, University of Michigan
PhD, 2015, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Columbia Affiliations

Faculty Affiliate, Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC)
Assistant Attending Physician, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Assistant Professor, Division of General Medicine

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of Clincial, Medicine

Other Affiliations

Honors & Awards

Calderone Award for Junior Faculty, 2014

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