Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA

Global Director

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr is the founder and global director of ICAP and an international expert in infectious diseases and public health with extensive experience in epidemiology and research on the prevention and management of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and emerging infections, among others. She is also the director of Columbia World Projects and director of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Global Health Initiative (GHI), which mobilizes the university community to address critical challenges in global health. In 2022, Dr. El-Sadr was appointed as Executive Vice President for Columbia Global, a Columbia initiative that promotes and facilitates impactful engagement of the University’s faculty, students, and alumni with the world, to enhance understanding, address global challenges, and advance knowledge and its exchange. Under her strategic leadership in this role, Columbia Global will more closely align some of the University’s key global initiatives, including the Global Centers, CWP, and the Institute for Ideas and Imagination based in Paris, France, and moving forward, will offer the opportunity to include other global initiatives under its umbrella to support and expand the University’s global activities and presence.

For over four decades, Dr. El-Sadr has advocated for families and communities most impacted by health challenges and championed a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to confronting the global epidemic. Based at Columbia University, she leads ICAP’s portfolio of projects in more than 40 countries and manages a global team of over 2,000 staff. Under her leadership, ICAP has become a global leader in addressing global health challenges and health systems strengthening.

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 arming health care systems around the world with effective strategies for confronting the impact of various health challenges and leveraging investment to strengthen health systems. She is the principal investigator for numerous ICAP-led initiatives, including the NIH-funded HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI).

Dr. El-Sadr received her medical degree at Cairo University, a master’s in public health (epidemiology) from Mailman School of Public Health, and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She joined the faculty of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1988 and became a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Mailman School of Public Health. In 2013, she was appointed University Professor, Columbia’s highest academic title. She also holds the Dr. Mathilde Krim-amfAR Chair in Global Health. She is a MacArthur fellow, as well as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Council for Foreign Relations, the African Academy of Sciences, and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health.