A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED made history when he became the youngest public health official in a major American city, ever. Called “One of the brightest young stars in the future of the progressive movement” by Sen. Bernie Sanders, he hosts the popular podcast America Dissected, and is author of Healing Politics (March 2020). A leading advocate for infusing public health and education with social justice, he opens up cross-party conversation; reigniting a sense of what matters in a nation divided. The idea of who we are is getting a major overhaul, and El-Sayed is raising the bar.
“Abdul El-Sayed understands something very profound. That at the end of the day, no matter how much wealth and power the big moneyed interests have...what is more important than their money is ordinary people coming together in the struggle for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice.”— Sen. Bernie Sanders
At 30, Abdul El-Sayed served as Detroit’s Health Commissioner—making him the youngest ever health official in a major American City. In his upcoming book, Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic, he shares his powerful personal narrative, along with compelling forays into science and history, to diagnose an underlying national epidemic: the epidemic of insecurity. Compassionate, bold, and uncompromising, El-Sayed proposes a new direction to bridge the divides this epidemic deepens, and shares his vision of a more democratic America. And his dedication to making that happen has won him the praise of the likes of Senator Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said, “Abdul inspires me, his commitment inspires me, his background, his work inspires me, and we have to have each other's backs.”
His popular new podcast, America Dissected, takes an in-depth look at ten key healthcare issues facing Americans today. Part of the Crooked Media podcast family (Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It), America Dissected offers Abdul El-Sayed’s exceptional historical, political and social insight into how we got here, and what it means for our health: not only as people, but as a nation. Covering everything from the anti-vax movement and superbugs to the loneliness epidemic and the opioid crisis, it’s a timely, troubling, yet ultimately hopeful look at the past, present, and future of American healthcare.
As Health Commissioner, El-Sayed rebuilt Detroit’s Health Department post-privatization during the city’s municipal bankruptcy. He led the Department to multiply city funding for public health tenfold, attract millions of dollars in grants, and become a national leader in public health innovation. After this, El-Sayed ran to be the first ever Muslim-American governor of Michigan. His campaign—with its unapologetically progressive focus on public health, education, diversity, and dialogue—excited Americans across the nation.
Prior to his work in public service, El-Sayed was tenure-track faculty member at Columbia University’s Department of Epidemiology; Director of the Columbia University Systems Science Program; and co-Director of Global Research for Population Health. El-Sayed holds a Doctorate in Public Health from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, as well as an MD from Columbia University. He graduated with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan. At graduation, El-Sayed was selected to deliver the Student Commencement Address alongside President Clinton, who said of him, “I just wish every person in the world could have heard you speak today.”
In this talk, Dr. El-Sayed guides audiences through the process of rebuilding a city’s health department from the ground up. He discusses what happened in Detroit that led to the privatization of a 185-year old Health Department, and how he and his team went about rebuilding it. With vibrant, moving examples, he’ll show your audience the critical role of local public health, the evolution of healthcare, and the vital part politics must play as we move forward.