• Press Release

Mount Sinai Physician Appointed to 2022-23 Class of White House Fellows

Makini Chisolm-Straker, MD, MPH, is working at the Social Security Administration, studying the structural contributions to disability

  • New York, NY
  • (November 14, 2022)

The President’s Commission on White House Fellows has appointed Mount Sinai’s Makini Chisolm-Straker, MD, MPH, to the 2022-2023 class of White House Fellows. This nonpartisan program equips exceptional young leaders with the necessary skills to be better community leaders through opportunities to work at the highest levels of the federal government.

Before starting her fellowship, Dr. Chisolm-Straker served as Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and core faculty in the Institute for Health Equity Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research focused on invisible populations, including labor and sex trafficking survivors, and trans and genderqueer patients in emergency settings.

“I'm grateful for the trust the White House Fellowship Commissioners have put in me. The Fellowship provides me with a prestigious opportunity to develop a portfolio outside of health care, in social policy, and to learn with and from the current and future leaders of the United States,” said Dr. Chisolm-Straker.

Each fellow chosen for the program spends a year working with senior White House staff, cabinet secretaries, and other top-ranking administration officials. During her fellowship, Dr. Chisolm-Straker will work at the Social Security Administration (SSA), where she will study the structural contributions to disability with SSA Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi. PhD, MSW.

“We are operationalizing ‘disability’ according to the social model of disability, which defines ‘disablement’ as the social, economic, and/or political exclusion of people who live with impairment. We will collaborate with lived-experience experts—people who live or have lived with mental and/or physical impairments. To finally achieve a nation that respects and values the diversity of bodies, minds, and life events, we need to understand what people who experience disability—experts—say we need to build that nation,” Dr. Chisolm-Straker said.

Dr. Chisolm-Straker anticipates that this work will further her mission to amplify the voices of those who have been historically excluded or discounted. The fellowship will also deepen her capacity to serve in domestic social policy, the key determinant of individual and community well-being.

“The biggest problems many of our patients in the ED face are not inherently medical or psychological; they are rooted in the environments in which they grow, learn, live, and work,” Dr. Chisolm-Straker said. “My job is to bring the wisdom of those with lived experience to policy-making spaces, ideally by bringing those individuals to these spaces. Their experiences are data, and they are experts.” 

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 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical 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 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2023-2024.

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