Rachel Vreeman, MD, MS, Appointed Chair of Global Health and Director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Appointment Enhances Efforts by the Institute to Improve Health of Communities Locally and Internationally
Rachel C. Vreeman, MD, MS, an expert on global HIV care and on building global health partnerships that improve health care quality and access, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Global Health and Health System Design and Director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Vreeman, who previously served as the Institute’s interim director, said now is a critical moment for the Mount Sinai Health System to lead in strengthening global health care and initiatives.
A highly regarded pediatrician and researcher, Dr. Vreeman has focused her research efforts over the last 15 years on improving care for children and adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically HIV therapy adherence, disclosure of HIV status, durability of antiretroviral therapy regimens, and related mental health and stigma challenges. Dr. Vreeman is chair of the global pediatric working group for the International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA), the world’s largest cohort of patients living with HIV.
“Dr. Vreeman is a passionate and an exceptionally talented leader in global health,” said Dennis Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs at Mount Sinai Health System. “Under her leadership, I am confident the Institute will continue to tackle global health challenges in new and innovative ways, and improve human health both locally and globally. We are thrilled about the outstanding work she’s done so far – and the work to come as a Department Chair and Director of the Institute.”
“The current challenges with COVID-19 are critical reminders of the importance of global health programs. Viruses do not respect borders, and we know that the current global challenges with COVID-19 and other emerging diseases makes it essential to strengthen healthcare systems around the world,” said Dr. Vreeman. “It is exciting to have this opportunity to grow and advance the Arnhold Institute for Global Health, and to lead the effort to develop and evaluate global health solutions that can be replicated at scale. My goal for the Institute is to strengthen partnerships with global organizations to improve quality and accessibility of care for vulnerable people, while also producing innovative global health research.”
Over the next five years, the Institute—with robust support from the Icahn School of Medicine—will establish a network of Mount Sinai Global Site partnerships to advance research activities, while offering engagement opportunities for education and improving health care delivery. These site partnerships will support Dr. Vreeman’s goal of strengthening the Institute’s ability to generate evidence for better health care systems globally by expanding research infrastructure, partnerships, and portfolios of health impact.
“The appointment of Dr. Vreeman as director of the Institute demonstrates the depth of Mount Sinai’s commitment to enhancing the well-being of people, not just in the communities we serve locally, but also in communities around the world,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System. “Dr. Vreeman’s accomplishments and extensive work advocating for vulnerable patient populations give her the necessary insights to lead the Institute in the development of innovative programs and new partnerships that support our goal of changing the lives of patients and improving the health of communities everywhere.”
Eric Nestler, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said, “Dr. Vreeman’s wide-ranging expertise and experience in global health research and policy make her well-suited to take on this role. We believe that, under her direction, the Department will set a standard for academic medical centers in pursuing partnerships and producing research that strengthens both the impact and caliber of health care systems worldwide.”
The mission of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health includes developing and evaluating global health solutions that enhance access and quality of care for everyone. The Institute collaborates with academic institutions, health systems, government partners, and leading community-based organizations to maximize the impact at scale. Its core research focuses on how health care systems can be improved and extended to meet the needs of vulnerable people. The Institute’s current initiatives include a program to support hospitals and community health networks in Nepal in enhancing maternal and newborn health outcomes, and lifelong HIV treatment programs for children and adolescents in Kenya.
Dr. Vreeman believes solutions implemented in developing countries could benefit underserved communities in the United States. For example, principles and initiatives to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in Nepal could be adapted and applied to community hospitals in New York City which care for a diverse patient population.
“Ultimately, the goal is to change how health care systems provide treatment to patients, especially in low-resource settings, by applying solutions learned from global communities,” Dr. Vreeman said. “The rigorous research we are conducting and the deep partnerships we are forging with select global sites will enable us to make significant progress in achieving that objective.”
Dr. Vreeman has an extensive history of research success, with a portfolio of grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, and experience chairing global HIV research collaborations. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics, and has co-authored several best-selling books addressing medical myths. Prior to joining Mount Sinai in 2019, she served as Director of Research for the Indiana University Center for Global Health and for the AMPATH Research Network, and was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Joe and Sarah Ellen Mamlin Scholar for Global Health Research.
About the Arnhold Institute for Global Health
The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai specializes in global health systems and implementation research. The Institute is an academic institute that develops and evaluates global health solutions which can be replicated at scale. Its global research programs and deep partnerships globally generate evidence about how to build and sustain better health care systems. The institute is committed to applying global lessons from developing country contexts to low-resource settings in the United States.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.