A Focus on the Environmental Impact on Health

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH

For the past 20 years, the nation’s vast scientific resources have been spent unraveling the human genome. This emphasis now includes the genome’s environmental equivalent—the exposome—as well. At the Mount Sinai Health System, research into the exposome is being led by Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH, Ethel H. Wise Professor of Community Medicine, and the newly named Chair of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Read more

Expert in Global Health Joins Mount Sinai

Prabhjot Singh, MD, PhD

Prabhjot Singh, MD, PhD, an expert in the design of community health systems for underserved populations in the United States and abroad, has joined Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as Director of The Arnhold Global Health Institute, and Vice Chair of Population Health in the Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine.

In his dual roles, Dr. Singh will help the Icahn School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Health System align global and domestic health activities, and integrate advances in domestic population health with economic principles, biomedical advances, and systems science. Read more

Researchers Receive Robin Chemers Neustein Award

Leticia Tordesillas, PhD

Leticia Tordesillas, PhD, and Elizabeth Heller, PhD, are the recipients of the 2015 Robin Chemers Neustein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, which was created to encourage and support female research scientists at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Tordesillas works in the laboratory of Cecilia Berin, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Her research is focused on how to establish immune tolerance to foods for the treatment of food allergy. In particular, she is studying how regulatory T cells induced by epicutaneous immunotherapy are generated and suppress anaphylaxis. Read more

Raising Awareness about Sickle Cell Disease

Jeffrey Glassberg, MD, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine, and Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Doris Wethers, MD; Jena Simon, NP; and Sydra Stuart, Phlebotomy Coordinator, Outreach Laboratories

The Mount Sinai Health System observed Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Month by hosting “Community Engagement Day: Mount Sinai Cares About Sickle Cell Disease” on Saturday, September 12, on The Mount Sinai Hospital campus. Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that tends to occur in people of African, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent, causing severe pain, tissue damage, infections, and organ failure. More than 120 attendees learned about SCD from patients and a panel of physician researchers, and were reminded that babies should be screened soon after birth. The establishment of the Doris Wethers Award—which will be presented each year to an individual who does outstanding work with SCD—was a highlight of the event. Doris Wethers, MD, a retired physician from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt, is a renowned expert on pediatric SCD.

Ann-Gel S. Palermo, MPH, DrPH, Selected for Aspen Health Innovators Fellowship

Ann-Gel S. Palermo, MPH, DrPH

The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., recently named Ann-Gel S. Palermo, MPH, DrPH, as one of 20 health care leaders nationwide selected to participate in the inaugural class of its Health Innovators Fellowship. Fellows were chosen from a wide range of health care sectors, including medicine, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, mental and behavioral health, government, public health, health care venture capital, and veterans’ health. Dr. Palermo is Chief Program Officer, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Mount Sinai Health System, and Associate Director, Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Read more

Free Thyroid Cancer Screenings at The Mount Sinai Hospital

Mike Yao, MD, center, Senior Faculty, Department of Otolaryngology, The Mount Sinai Hospital, and technician Mildred Paulino, right, perform an ultrasound screening for thyroid cancer.

More than 168 Mount Sinai Health System staff and visitors received free thyroid cancer screenings in September at an event sponsored by The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery during Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Physicians and technicians conducted the screenings using ultrasound, which can reveal nodules or other warning symptoms. The National Cancer Institute estimates 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in 2015. Screening is recommended for individuals with a family history of thyroid disease/cancer or with palpable neck abnormalities.

Mount Sinai Researchers Identifies Drug with Potential to Drive Beta Cell Proliferation

Andrew Stewart, MDIn a screen of more than 100,000 potential drugs, only one, harmine, drove human insulin-producing beta cells to multiply, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, published in Nature Medicine.

Diabetes results from too few insulin-producing “beta cells” in the pancreas secreting too little insulin, the hormone required to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. In a groundbreaking Mount Sinai study, researchers found that harmine drove the sustained division and multiplication of adult human beta cells in culture, a feat that had eluded the field for years. In addition, harmine treatment tripled the number of beta cells and led to better control of blood sugar in three groups of mice engineered to mimic human diabetes. Read more

Mount Sinai Researchers Make Diabetes Discoveries

Andrew Stewart, MD, the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine and Director of Mount Sinai’s Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute led a team of scientists who discovered a novel mechanism that regulates the replication of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Their findings provided novel working models describing the control of cell cycle progression in the human beta cell. These discoveries offer new insights into possible therapeutic approaches to stimulate the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Read more

A Fourteen-Year Legacy of Treatment for 9/11 Responders

Michael Crane, MD; Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc; and Robert O. Wright, MD, MPHIn the 14 years since the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC), the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has diagnosed and treated more than 20,000 first responders and survivors for 9/11-related physical and psychological issues. Area workers, residents, and responders were exposed to at least 70 carcinogens and other hazardous substances when the twin towers collapsed on September 11, 2001. Many of those involved in the recovery efforts in the days, weeks, and months after the terrorist attacks continue to require long-term medical care for conditions that have gotten worse or are just beginning to develop. Read more