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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Abdul El-Sayed, 2012

MD/PhD, Columbia University

Abdul El-Sayed is the child of immigrants from Egypt

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MD/PhD in Medicine and Epidemiology at Columbia University

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a Democratic candidate for Governor in Michigan, and was most recently the Health Commissioner for the City of Detroit.

Abdul has a medical degree from Columbia University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a doctorate in public health. He is a native Michigander who was born and raised in Metro Detroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007, where he was played varsity lacrosse and delivered the student Commencement speech alongside President Bill Clinton.

As a public health professor at Columbia University's Department of Epidemiology, Abdul became an internationally recognized expert in health policy and health inequalities. Abdul became the youngest health official in a major American city when he was appointed to rebuild Detroit's Health Department after it was privatized during the city's bankruptcy.

As Health Commissioner, he was responsible for the health and safety of over 670,000 Detroiters. Under Abdul's leadership, the Detroit Health Department became a state and national leader in public health innovation and environmental justice, in one of the fastest municipal public health turnarounds in American history.

Abdul launched his gubernatorial campaign after witnessing the systematic failures in Flint and across the state. Abdul is called to public service by a core belief in people. He believes that all people can thrive when we value each other and our communities, we seek to protect and defend our vulnerable, and when we create the kinds of opportunities that empower people to dream for a better future.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed was born in Michigan to parents who had come to the United States from Egypt.

  • MD Medicine | Columbia University 2014
  • MPhil Public Health | Oxford University 2011
  • BS Biology, Political Science | University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 2007
  • PhD Epidemiology | Columbia University
  • Rhodes Scholarship
  • Policy Innovator by the Carnegie Council
Work History
  • Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, Assistant Professor
  • City of Detroit, Executive Director of Public Health and Health Officer
  • Candidate for Governor of Michigan | February 2017
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