Kenneth L. Davis
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, is widely recognized as a visionary leader who has guided the institution on a strong and dramatic growth trajectory. Dr. Davis has also placed Mount Sinai at the forefront of building a population-health and value-based model of care, focused on wellness, health equity, and preventive care.
Dr. Davis became President and CEO of Mount Sinai in 2003, when he and Peter W. May, then Chairman of the Boards of Trustees, launched what has been characterized as one of the largest financial turnarounds in academic medicine. Mount Sinai grew in both scope and ambition, entering a new era of innovation in collaborative research, education, and clinical care.
In 2013, the Mount Sinai Health System was formed by the combination of The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, becoming one of the largest nonprofit systems in the country with $8 billion in revenue, 42,000 employees, eight hospitals, and more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida.
Building on these achievements, Dr. Davis led a philanthropic campaign that reached its goal of $1.6 billion, including a nearly $200 million gift from Carl C. Icahn, a longtime supporter and Trustee for whom the school was renamed in 2012.
Thought leaders call upon Dr. Davis to advise on health care matters, and print and television journalists invite him to discuss issues and advancements in science and medicine. His prominence in these areas of science, medicine, and health care reform is showcased yearly at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he has been a trustee of the Aspen Institute since 2014.
It has long been Dr. Davis’s motto that keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital is the way to bend the cost curve of health care over time, and that a switch to this value-based model of care is inevitable for the industry. However, Dr. Davis is not merely waiting for the market to shift, he is leading it. He recognizes that Mount Sinai plans to remain serving the community for decades, and therefore needs to think long term and invest now for the health care model of the future.
At a national level, Dr. Davis has met with senior officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to try to shape federal payment policy. He has published thought leadership pieces in national and local publications, and has encouraged his leadership team to speak out in their fields of expertise as well. At Mount Sinai itself, years of investment in population health have begun to pay off in lower inpatient admissions and readmissions among the patients covered by risk contracts. Mount Sinai has reduced the total cost of care in a majority of its value-based contracts through improving quality.
Dr. Davis’s affiliation with Mount Sinai dates back to early childhood. At age 7, he received emergency surgery at Mount Sinai. As a young adult, he attended Mount Sinai School of Medicine and received the Harold Elster Memorial Award for highest academic achievement in the School’s second graduating class.
After completing a residency in psychiatry and fellowship in pharmacology at Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Davis won a career development award from the Veterans Administration to pursue research in cholinergic mechanisms and neuropsychiatric diseases. Upon joining Mount Sinai, he became Chief of Psychiatry at the Bronx Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center. He launched Mount Sinai’s research program in the biology of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics.
Prior to becoming CEO, Dr. Davis spent 15 years as Chair of Mount Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry. He was the first Director for many of the institution’s research entities, including Mount Sinai’s National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Schizophrenia Biological Research Center at the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Silvio Conte Neuroscience Center to study schizophrenia, and the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment. Additionally, he received one of the first and largest program project grants for Alzheimer’s disease research from the NIH.
Dr. Davis’s groundbreaking work in Alzheimer’s research opened new avenues in the relief of symptoms from this devastating disease. Dr. Davis revolutionized Alzheimer’s clinical trial design by developing the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale, the most popular measure used to characterize the noncognitive and cognitive behavioral dysfunctions manifested by Alzheimer’s patients.
Dr. Davis's research led to the FDA’s approval of three of the first four drugs approved for Alzheimer’s disease. His work in schizophrenia has led to a new understanding of the role of myelination, white matter, and oligodendrocytes in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, opening up an entirely new way of viewing and studying this disease. That work, seen as revolutionary just a few years ago, has since been widely replicated.
In addition to his role as CEO, Dr. Davis served as Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine from 2003 to 2007. He served as President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2006 and has received its Joel Elkes Research Award, Daniel H. Efron Research Award, and Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award. The American Psychiatric Association has honored Dr. Davis’s work, and in 2002 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.
In 2009, Yale University presented Dr. Davis with the George H. W. Bush ’48 Lifetime of Leadership Award, an honor given to Yale alumni athletes who make significant breakthroughs in their professions. The award is but one of many honors Dr. Davis has received. Honors also include the VA’s career development award and the A. E. Bennett Award of the Society of Biological Psychiatry.
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