Ashwin Vasan, Darsana Srinivasan, Parag Mehta, Celine Gounder among New Yorkers saving lives across the state
Four Indian American health care leaders in New York are among City & State’s Health Care Power 100 topped by Ashwin Vasan Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Three other Indian Americans among those making policy decisions governing the delivery of health care are Darsana Srinivasan, Chief of Health Care Bureau at State Attorney General’s Office; Parag Mehta, president, Medical Society of the State of New York; and NYU Clinical Associate Professor Celine Gounder.
Read: Three Indian Americans among Money magazine’s 50 Changemakers (December 14, 2022)
“City & State’s Health Care Power 100 sheds light on these decision-makers in the medical world in New York, including prominent public officials, influential hospital and health care executives, heads of other nonprofit providers, union leaders, academics and an array of advocates and activists who take their case to Albany and at City Hall,” according to the publication.
The 2023 ranking takes into account the legislative victories, labor battles, newly launched initiatives and other noteworthy developments from the past 12 months, it said.
Vasan, ranked No. 1, then-Fountain House president and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health professor, replaced the New York City’s battle-tested Covidf-19 defender, Dr. Dave Chokshi as health commissioner in March.
Mayor Eric Adams’s decision signaled the administration wanted to put the pandemic in the rearview and prioritize other aspects of public health, the publication said. The coronavirus had other plans. As the “tripledemic” circulated in December, Vasan advised New Yorkers to wear masks on transit and indoors.
Read: Five Indian Americans among 32 US Rhodes Scholars (November 17, 2022)
The mental health leader, who previously served on City & State’s advisory board, will also help carry out the mayor’s hospitalization directive for some homeless New Yorkers, which is facing legal challenges, it said.
Srinivasan, ranked 40, joined the state attorney general’s office less than two years ago, and she has already obtained refunds for pharmacy customers wrongfully charged for Covid-19 vaccines, urged Google to revise its search results concerning abortion providers and reached a $13 million agreement with UnitedHealthcare to pay consumers illegally denied mental health coverage, according to the publication.
Mehta, ranked 43, is president, Medical Society of the State of New York, a professional organization representing over 30,000 licensed physicians, medical residents and students.
Mehta, who succeeded Dr. Joseph R. Sellers as president after his election in May, is the chief medical information officer at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and previously served as president of the Kings County Medical Society. His current organization has been contending with physician burnout and federal Medicare cuts.
Read: Three Indian-Americans in New York named in Health Care Power 100 list (January 24, 2023)
Gounder, ranked 97, is Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, NYU Langone. Many Americans first heard of Dr. Celine Gounder when she spoke out about the tragic death of her husband, Grant Wahl, at the 2022 World Cup, the publication noted.
Yet within the medical world, she was already widely known, having been named to President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 task force.
A clinical professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and an infectious disease specialist at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, Gounder also is the founder of the nonprofit multimedia organization Just Human Productions, a prolific podcaster and an adviser to local politician.