Three Indian-Americans in New York named in Health Care Power 100 list

Ashwin Vasan. Photo: Twitter @ashvasnyc
Darsana Srinivasan. Photo: Linkedin @darsana-srinivasan
Dr. Parag Mehta. Photo: Riz Shah, courtesy MSSNY

Three Indian-Americans are in the list brought out by City & State news outlet’s  top 100 leaders in the health care field over the last year in the state of New York.

The City & State’s Health Care Power 100 list announced Jan. 17, 2023, includes three physicians of Indian origin who played an important role during the pandemic. They are Ashwin Vasan, commissioner at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; Darshana Srinivasan, chief of the Health Care Bureau at the State Attorney General’s Office; and Parag Mehta, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

City & State is a “media organization dedicated to covering New York’s local and state politics and policy,” according to the paper’s website. And the list, according to the media outlet, “sheds light on these decision-makers in the medical world in New York, including prominent public officials, influential hospital and health care executives, heads of other nonprofit providers, union leaders, academics and an array of advocates and activists who take their case to Albany and at City Hall. The 2023 ranking takes into account the legislative victories, labor battles, newly launched initiatives and other noteworthy developments from the past 12 months.”

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Ashwin Vasan: According to City & State, when Dr. Vasan, a professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health professor took over in March 2022, as the city’s health commissioner, “it signaled the administration wanted to put the pandemic in the rearview and prioritize other aspects of public health.” But the virus had other plans, and when it threw the ‘tripledemic’ at the city in December “Vasan advised New Yorkers to wear masks on transit and indoors.”

“The mental health leader, who previously served on City & State’s advisory board, will also help carry out the mayor’s hospitalization directive for some homeless New Yorkers, which is facing legal challenges,” City & State noted.

According to the Columbia University website, “Ashwin Vasan, ScM, MD, PhD is a primary care physician, epidemiologist and public health expert with nearly 20 years of experience working to improve health (mental+physical), social welfare, and public policy for vulnerable populations.”

Darsana Srinivasan: Srinivasan joined the Attorney General’s Office in August 2021, and in this short period of time, City & State notes, “she has already obtained refunds for pharmacy customers wrongfully charged for COVID-19 vaccines, urged Google to revise its search results concerning abortion providers and reached a $13 million agreement with UnitedHealthcare to pay consumers illegally denied mental health coverage.”

A graduate of Stanford University with a law degree from Yale, Srinivasan has had a career in securing rights and justice for the most vulnerable. She served in the National Women’s Law Center, was Assistant Solicitor General in the New York AG’s office, was in private practice for two years before she joined the New York City Commission on Human Rights as a Supervising Attorney, before her current appointment as Bureau Chief at the  New York State AG’s office.

Dr. Parag Mehta: In May 2022, Dr. Mehta took over as President of the Medical Society of the State of New York, a professional organization representing more than 30,000 licensed physicians, medical residents and students. He is also the chief medical information officer at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and previously served as president of the Kings County Medical Society. “His current organization has been contending with physician burnout and federal Medicare cuts,” City & State notes.

Dr. Mehta is a leading advocate for improving public health and physician well-being and restoring the joy of medicine in New York, according to the bio provided by him. “He desires NY state to be a better place to practice medicine,” where at this time despite the state training the highest number of physicians, many leave after their training, “as NY is at the bottom of the list for practicing medicine.” Considered an “astute clinician, quintessential educator, motivational mentor, and transformational leader, Dr. Mehta also served as an American College of Physicians Governor, Class of 2022 for NY. He is a delegate and member of the International Medical Graduate Council of the American Medical Association.

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