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Dr. Abdul El-Sayed joins us for a virtual chat to discuss his newly released memoir, Healing Politics.
About the Book
A Doctor's Journey Into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic
From a rising voice in progressive politics, a combination of memoir, science, and public policy, diagnosing the challenges facing America and laying out a way forward.
A child of immigrants, Abdul El-Sayed grew up feeling a responsibility to help others. He threw himself into the study of medicine and excelled—winning a Rhodes Scholarship, earning two advanced degrees, and landing a tenure-track position at Columbia University. At 30, he became the youngest city health official in America, tasked with rebuilding Detroit's health department after years of austerity policies.
But El-Sayed found himself disillusioned. He could heal the sick—even build healthier and safer communities—but that wouldn’t address the social and economic conditions causing illness in the first place. So he left health for politics, running for Governor of Michigan and earning the support of progressive champions like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders.
In Healing Politics, El-Sayed traces the life of a young idealist, weaving together powerful personal stories and fascinating forays into history and science. Marrying his unique perspective with the science of epidemiology, El-Sayed diagnoses an underlying epidemic afflicting our country, an epidemic of insecurity. And to heal the rifts this epidemic has created, he lays out a new direction for the progressive movement. This is a bold, personal, and compellingly original book from a prominent young leader.
About the Author
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist.
He is the Chair of Southpaw Michigan and a Political Contributor at CNN. He is the host of “America Dissected,” a podcast by Crooked Media, which goes beyond the headlines to explore what really matters for our health.
In 2018, Abdul ran for Governor of Michigan on an unapologetically progressive platform. Though he
finished second of three earning over 340,000 votes in the Democratic primary, his bid was endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and The Nation. Prior to the election he served the City of Detroit as Health Director, appointed to rebuild Detroit's Health Department after it was privatized during the city's bankruptcy. He was the youngest health official in a major American city and was awarded “Public Official of the Year” by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and "40 under 40” by Crain’s Detroit Business in view of his leadership.
Before entering public service, he was Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health where he led Columbia’s Systems Science Program and Global Research Analytics for Population Health. He has over 100 peer reviewed scientific publications that have been cited over 1600 times. Abdul earned a Doctorate in Public Health from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He also holds a Medical Degree from Columbia University where he was an NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow and Soros New Americans Fellow.
El-Sayed graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan, where he
was chosen to deliver the student remarks alongside President Bill Clinton. He is a native Michigander who was born and raised in Metro Detroit, where he lives with his wife Sarah, a psychiatrist, and daughter Emmalee. He is a proud member of UAW Local 1981, AFT Local 477, and SEIU Local 500. He enjoys good people, good coffee, good food, and University of Michigan football.
“As a doctor who helped lead Detroit’s health department Abdul knows full well the problems with America's healthcare system and is working to solve them by advocating for a Medicare for All system. Abdul is one of the brightest young stars in the future of the progressive movement.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders
“Abdul is one of our most gifted communicators and fiercest advocates for the ideal of health care as a fundamental human right. In Healing Politics, he draws on his invaluable blend of experience as a doctor, public health commissioner, and political leader to bring a sorely needed sense of empathy and humanity to the debate over how to mend our fractured society.” — Jon Favreau
“This book is a majestic act of hope grounded in a life of great empathy and courage! From first-rate medical doctor to loving husband, father and politician, Abdul El-Sayed takes us in a breathtaking journey that uplifts our spirits in these grim days!” — Professor Cornel West
"This is a very important book. Abdul El-Sayed diagnoses the true epidemic of our moment: the scourge of insecurity, as we face a heartless economy and a faltering climate system. And he provides the prescription: a dose of empathy measured out in legislation and political action. It's a manual for real, deep, and utterly necessary change." — Bill McKibben
“In Healing Politics, Abdul El-Sayed doesn't just diagnose the causes of our broken politics; he gives us a prescription and treatment plan. Abdul's passion, empathy, and, most important, personal insight—drawn from his experience as an epidemiologist, advocate, and movement leader—will educate and inspire every reader.” — Representative Pramila Jayapal
“Abdul El-Sayed is an inspired leader with a failsafe moral compass. Achingly felt and carefully reasoned, this book explains the forces that are shattering our communities—and the politics of empathy that can repair our relationships and transform society.” — Naomi Klein