Ashwin Vasan, M.D., PhD, is the recently-appointed President and CEO of Fountain House, an internationally recognized nonprofit that addresses the devastating impact of mental illness and social isolation through a pioneering community-based social therapeutic and social services model, and that has inspired the creation of hundreds of similar programs in 34 countries that serve more than 100,000 people annually.
Dr. Vasan’s expertise in public health policy and political and social advocacy on a local and global level will advance Fountain House’s work at the intersection of public health, mental illness, homelessness, criminal justice, healthcare, and social welfare for marginalized people and communities.
A practicing primary care physician, academic, and public servant committed to improving the lives of vulnerable people, Dr. Vasan holds concurrent positions as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, and has taught graduate students and trainees in general medicine, population health, and implementation science.
Early in his career, Dr. Vasan worked at the nonprofit, Partners In Health, and at the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment in the global South. He spent time in Rwanda and Lesotho during his tenure with Partners In Health, focusing on HIV, health systems and strengthening primary care delivery. He then led the multi-country health systems implementation and research program ARCHeS, based at Columbia Mailman, and most recently, as the founding Executive Director of the Health Access Equity Unit at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, he built the first municipal health department program focused explicitly on the intersection of health, clinical systems, and the social welfare needs of marginalized populations, including people living with mental illness involved in the justice system.
Dr. Vasan holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from Harvard, his MD from the University of Michigan, and his PhD in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and in mainstream media outlets including Huffington Post and The Marshall Project.