“I am always mindful of the axiom of my predecessor at Mount Sinai, the late Professor Irving J. Selikoff, the father of occupational medicine in the United States, who said, ‘Statistics are people with the tears wiped off.’”
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc
Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Principal Investigator of the National Children’s Study in New York and New Jersey
For more than three decades, Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, has been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable populations among us — our children and our workers. From conducting clinical investigations, to leading epidemiologic studies, to testifying before Congress, Dr. Landrigan has brought environmental health threats, including lead, pesticides, and air quality from ground zero after the World Trade Center attacks, into the national spotlight.
One of Dr. Landrigan’s most notable contributions is his role as principal investigator of the National Children’s Health Study in New York and New Jersey. This 25-year longitudinal study will address important questions in pediatrics and environmental health by following more than 100,000 children from conception until age 21.
Since 1990, Dr. Landrigan has led the Department of Preventive Medicine, dedicated to advancing disease prevention, health promotion, public health, community medicine, environmental and occupational medicine, and aspects of global health. The Department currently leads several major initiatives and projects, including the National Children's Study and the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, caring for more than 20,000 September 11 responders.
Trained as a pediatrician and epidemiologist, Dr. Landrigan is an internationally recognized leader in public health and preventive medicine. Before joining Mount Sinai, he served for 15 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). During his appointment at the CDC, Dr. Landrigan served as a field epidemiologist in El Salvador and in northern Nigeria, where he participated in the Global Campaign for the Eradication of Smallpox. At NIOSH, Dr. Landrigan directed the national program in occupational epidemiology. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the United States Public Health Service.
Dr. Landrigan has improved the lives of countless children in the United States and abroad. His pioneering research on lead toxicity at low levels persuaded the U.S. government to mandate the removal of lead from gasoline and paint, causing a 90 percent decline in incidence of childhood lead poisoning over the past 25 years. He directed a report on pesticides and children's health at the National Academy of Sciences that was instrumental in passing the Food Quality Protection Act, the first federal environmental statute to contain explicit provisions for the protection of children's health.
A pioneer in occupational health, Dr. Landrigan led medical and epidemiologic studies of workers’ health after the September 11, 2001, attacks. He helped establish the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, which continues today and monitors the health of more than 27,000 men and women who responded on 9/11.
Dr. Landrigan's expertise in environmental health and epidemiology has been called upon by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Armed Forces’ Epidemiological Board. He joined Mount Sinai in 1985 as Director of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, and was named Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine in 1990.
After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, he completed an internship in pediatrics/medicine at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. In 1977, he received a diploma of industrial health from the University of London and a master's of science degree in occupational medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A prolific author, Dr. Landrigan has published more than 500 scientific papers and five books. Dr. Landrigan served in the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve from 1996 to 2005, and he retired from the Navy as a senior captain.