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About Charney

About Dean Charney

Dennis S. Charney, MD, is a preeminent expert in neurobiology who has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of human anxiety, fear, depression, and resilience. He has played a key role in the discovery of new treatments for mood and anxiety disorders, and remains a continual champion of rigorous, translational scientific efforts to improve patient care. Dr. Charney is Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System.

Recruited to Icahn Mount Sinai as Dean of Research in 2004, in 2007, he became the Dean of the School and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Medical Center. In 2013, Dr. Charney was also named President for Academic Affairs for the newly integrated Mount Sinai Health System, which includes eight hospitals throughout New York City. As the sole medical school partner within the Mount Sinai Health System, Icahn Mount Sinai now has one of the most expansive training and research footprints in the nation.

By recruiting exceptional faculty across the biomedical sciences, as well as in computational biology, genetics, artificial intelligence, information technology, and entrepreneurship, Dr. Charney has cultivated a supercharged, Silicon Valley-style atmosphere at Icahn Mount Sinai. Under his leadership, the School has emerged as a global leader in medical education. Dr. Charney’s commitment to hiring faculty who are innovative and ambitious researchers—as well as dedicated educators—is reflected by the fact that Icahn Mount Sinai is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of National Institute of Health funding.

In 2020, to promote diversity and gender equity in medicine, Dr. Charney established the Mount Sinai Institute for Health Equity Research, which aims to advance health and access to care across the nation’s demographic divide. The same year, Dr. Charney and Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, convened the Mount Sinai Health System Task Force to Address Racism. The Task Force built a roadmap, currently being implemented, to eliminate structural racism and inequities within Mount Sinai. This roadmap now serves as a national model for dismantling racism and bias in science, medicine, and medical education.

Early in his tenure as Dean, Dr. Charney unveiled a strategic plan that laid the foundation for the dozens of research institutes that Mount Sinai is known for today. Within and across these hubs of scientific and clinical enterprise, renowned scientists and physicians facilitate the development of effective treatments for the most serious medical conditions. By welcoming students into these institutes to work and study with such faculty, Icahn Mount Sinai prepares future researchers and clinicians to continually challenge the limits of science and medicine. This strategic plan is updated every year. Most recently, there have been major investments in genetics, including the Mount Sinai Million project, Immunology, including the establishment of a new department of Immunology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), including the establishment of the first department of AI and Human Health.

In recent years Dr. Charney has placed a particular emphasis in precision medicine. In 2019 Dr. Charney established a partnership with the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, to develop digital health products to advance precision medicine. In 2023, alongside Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Icahn Mount Sinai opened the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine, an interdisciplinary partnership aimed at revolutionizing patient care through advances in engineering medicine.

Dr. Charney's career began in 1981 at Yale, where within nine years, he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor of Psychiatry with tenure, a position he held for a decade. While at Yale, he chaired the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Board of Scientific Counselors, effectively advising the Institute's director on intramural research programs. In 2000, NIMH recruited Dr. Charney to head its Mood and Anxiety Disorder Research Program —one of the largest programs of its kind—as well as the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch.

Dr. Charney is considered one of the most innovative researchers in psychiatry. His research with colleagues at Yale, the National Institute of Mental Health, and Mount Sinai has led to more rapid treatments for treatment resistant depression (lithium augmentation; ketamine), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Ketamine), Rapid treatment for opioid withdrawal (clonidine and naloxone), rapid treatment of panic disorder (clonazepam and sertraline), and the first digital treatment for depression (emotional face memory task). His research on resilience has led to approaches to enhance human resilience to stress and trauma. The work demonstrating that ketamine is a rapidly acting antidepressant has been hailed as one of the most exciting developments in antidepressant therapy in more than half a century.

Dr. Charney is among the most highly cited medical researchers in the world. The 2023 Research.com ranking of the best researchers in all of medicine ranked Dr. Charney 46th in the United States and 64th in the world. Additionally, he was the highest ranked psychiatrist. Dr. Charney is a member of the National Academy of Medicine since 2000 and has been honored with every major award in his field for his scientific research.

A prolific author, Dr. Charney has written or co-authored more than 800 publications, including groundbreaking scientific papers, chapters, and books. His studies on human resilience, which identified ten key resilience factors for building the strength to bounce back from stress and trauma, are summarized in the celebrated Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges (3rd ed.). Co-authored with Steven Southwick and Jonathan DePierro, the newest edition will be published by Cambridge University Press, September 2023.

Dr. Charney’s other books include Charney & Nestler’s Neurobiology of Mental Illness (Oxford University Press, USA, 6th ed., in press); The Peace of Mind Prescription: An Authoritative Guide to Finding the Most Effective Treatment for Anxiety and Depression (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004); The Physician’s Guide to Depression and Bipolar Disorders (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006); and Resilience and Mental Health: Challenges Across the Lifespan (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

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Dean Dennis S. Charney Opening Remarks | Commencement 2024
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