Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA
Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr is the director of Columbia World Projects. She is also the founder and director of ICAP at Columbia University and an international expert in epidemiology and research on the prevention and management of HIV, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. For over three decades, she has advocated for families and communities most impacted by HIV and championed a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to confronting the global epidemic. She has led programs and projects that have had a decisive impact on such pressing global health challenges as tuberculosis, malaria, antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases including cancer, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based at Columbia University, she leads ICAP’s portfolio of projects in more than 30 countries and manages a global team of over 2,000 staff. Under her leadership, ICAP has become a global leader in HIV and health systems strengthening. She is also the director of the Mailman School’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), which mobilizes the university community to address critical challenges in global health.
Dr. El-Sadr began her career as the HIV epidemic took hold in the United States. As chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital, she developed successful methods for responding to HIV/AIDS through groundbreaking research and innovative models of care in her own community. Dr. El-Sadr became a leader in the global fight against HIV by empowering health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia with effective strategies for confronting the impact of the epidemic and leveraging investment in HIV to strengthen health systems more broadly.
She is the principal investigator for numerous ICAP-led research initiatives and of the NIH-funded HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). A MacArthur Foundation fellow, Dr. El-Sadr is also a member of the NIH Fogarty International Center Advisory Board, and in 2009, was appointed to the National Academy of Medicine. In 2022, she was appointed to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. El-Sadr has shared her expertise as a member of the Mayor’s Scientific Advisory Council, the NYC Test and Trace Group, and the Columbia University COVID-19 Task Force.
Dr. El-Sadr joined the faculty of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1988 and become a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Mailman School of Public Health, of which she is an alumna. In 2013, she was appointed University Professor, Columbia’s highest academic honor. She also holds the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR Chair in Global Health.