• Press Release

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH Appointed Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • (June 19, 2015)

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH was today appointed Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Dr. Wright will lead a team of physicians and researchers focused on environmental and occupational health, from pediatric patients faced with household hazards to emergency workers with respiratory problems related to heroic service at the World Trade Center site.

Dr. Wright succeeds Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, Ethel H. Wise Professor of Preventive Medicine, who will continue his important work as Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai.

“For decades, Mount Sinai has been at the forefront in the fight to prevent disease, improve health outcomes and provide quality care to people of all ages,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System. “We are proud to have Dr. Wright, whose achievements in the field of preventive medicine and pediatrics are second to none, lead this storied department.”

“I know that under the capable leadership of Dr. Wright, the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai will lead the way in efforts to protect the health of our most vulnerable citizens,” Dr. Landrigan said.

“I am truly excited and honored to lead the Preventive Medicine Department at Mount Sinai and am grateful for this opportunity,” said Dr. Wright. “This Department will lead the way in developing better measures of the impact of the environment on health, and then integrate them  into Mount Sinai’s outstanding genomics programs to develop new prevention and treatment programs for complex diseases. For instance, we will be at the forefront of efforts to  understand the ‘exposome,’ each person’s lifetime exposures to chemicals from diet and the environment that change the function of our genes.”

An environmental epidemiologist, Dr. Wright previously served as Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Division of Environmental Health at Mount Sinai.  He is also the Founder and Director of the Senator Frank Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine.  In addition to his work in Preventive Medicine, Dr. Wright has a secondary appointment in Pediatrics.

In his new role, Dr. Wright will continue to lead a multidisciplinary research program focused on the effects of environmental factors on child health and neurodevelopment. For example, he is the Principal Investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded birth cohort, Early Life Exposures in Mexico and NeuroToxicology (ELEMENT), an ongoing collaboration with the Mexican National Institute of Public Health. Dr. Wright the founded the Metals Assessment Targeting Community Health (“MATCH”) study in Tar Creek, Oklahoma, also funded by NIH; Dr. Wright also directs a study of toxic metal exposure and child neurodevelopment in Bangladesh.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Wright was on faculty at Harvard University for 12 years, with appointments in both the School of Public Health and in the Medical School, worked clinically at Boston Children’s Hospital, and directed the Harvard Superfund Research Program. Dr. Wright earned his BS and MD degrees at the University of Michigan, and his MPH at Harvard.  Following internship and residency at Northwestern University, he completed a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at Brown, a medical toxicology fellowship at Harvard Medical School, a research fellowship in Environmental Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a postdoctoral research fellowship in Genetic Epidemiology at the Channing Lab of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Wright has served on numerous national committees and advisory boards in the field of Pediatric Environmental Health, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health Board of Scientific Counsellors, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. He has been a prolific author of journal articles over the years, and lectures nationally and internationally on environmental health issues.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the "Honor Roll" of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."

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