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Abdulrahman El-Sayed
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Dr. Abdulrahman El-Sayed is a social epidemiologist and physician-in-training at Columbia University and Fellow at Dēmos, a New York-based non-partisan policy center. He is also Associate Editor at The 2x2 Project.

His commentary engages progressive policy questions in the US and globally, with a particular focus on disease prevention in light of epidemiologic trends and emerging public health challenges.

The author of over 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, he holds a DPhil in Public Health from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is also a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is completing his medical training at Columbia University.

Entries by Abdulrahman El-Sayed

An Open Letter to LeBron James

(36) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 10:31 AM

Dear LeBron,

Fresh off an extraordinary year leading the Miami Heat to an NBA title and the U.S. Men's Basketball team to a gold medal in London, you should be a role model for what good health and regular exercise can do.

But instead, you're doing the opposite by representing...

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President Obama's Reelection and Progressive Dissonance

(31) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 8:56 PM

In 2008, like many young progressives, I supported President Obama with the fervor of the converted. He was so magnanimous in his support for all the right causes, so captivating with his prose, and so fresh in his perspective that I believed that his election would actually catalyze a new...

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Banning Big Gulps Won't Fix Our Big Obesity Problem

(4) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 12:10 PM

When a high-profile politician makes tackling the country's most dangerous health threat a top item on his agenda, public health people like me usually feel a certain contentment -- that something is right in the world.

But when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that his administration...

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Five Reasons Free Markets Don't Work in Health Care

(31) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 2:30 PM

Last week's debate on the floor of the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act reignited a substantially more lively, if not bipolar, public conversation about health care in our country.

Conservatives pontificated about freedom and the sanctity of the constitution, and progressives waxed philosophical about health...

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The Mandate and Its Enemies

(180) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 12:08 PM

On the coattails of its second anniversary, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The question at hand is the legality of the "health insurance mandate." Requiring citizens to purchase health insurance on the private market, it stands as the first...

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A New MCAT and a New Focus for Future Doctors

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 10:12 AM

The first professor to lecture our class of 170 bright-eyed newbies on our first day of medical school was a gray-haired veteran of the hospital wards. Her stoic demeanor provided a sharp contrast to the palpable anxiety emanating from her audience as we fidgeted under our crisp, starched new white...

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SOPA's Killer Cousin You've Probably Never Heard About

(29) Comments | Posted January 26, 2012 | 10:39 AM

One of the greatest public goods our taxpayers fund is biomedical research.

Findings from NIH-funded research are used day-in and day-out to help doctors make treatment and diagnosis decisions, to help health departments better allocate their resources to promote health and prevent disease, and to inspire new ideas for...

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The Lament of a College Football Fan

(17) Comments | Posted January 8, 2012 | 9:07 PM

As LSU and Alabama kickoff this season's final game, I'll be glad that this college football season is finally coming to an end.

Why? Because I love college football.

Since I can remember, Saturday mornings in the fall have been dedicated to watching college football pregame shows, fitting preludes...

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Corporations Pulling Ads From All-American Muslim Are Engaged In Jim Crow-Style Discrimination

(224) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 12:29 PM

TLC's reality TV series All-American Muslim showcases the lives of five motley families in Dearborn, MI -- a Detroit suburb home to one of America's largest and most vibrant Arab-American communities.

When I heard the cable television channel well known for its edgy yet insightful reality TV...

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Guns or Butter? Decisions After the Failure of the Super Committee

(48) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 10:40 AM

Any college freshman in Econ 101 can tell you about the famous "Guns or Butter" model. A simplified version of a country's spending choices, it lays out the costs and benefits of investing in "guns" (defense), or "butter" (civilian goods).

The recent failure of the not-so-super committee, which triggered...

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The Reckless Folly of Ellsberg's "Will Dropouts Save America?"

(47) Comments | Posted October 23, 2011 | 5:49 PM

In a reckless opinion piece in this Sunday's New York Times entitled "Will Dropouts Save America?" Michael Ellsberg argues that higher education robs students of crucial skills that promote success in entrepreneurship -- skills like networking, marketing, and comfort with failure -- and therefore, that job-creation efforts should...

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Prevention vs. Treatment and the Perverse Incentives Inflating the Costs of Healthcare

(48) Comments | Posted October 18, 2011 | 2:17 PM

It's well known that Americans pay more for less when it comes to healthcare than just about any other country in the world. In 2009, we spent nearly $8,000 per person to provide medical care to just over 80% of our population -- that compares, for example, to just under...

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The Orientalist Narrative Distorting the Egyptian Struggle for Freedom

(57) Comments | Posted February 9, 2011 | 9:07 AM

As a practicing Muslim Egyptian-American, it is common to have to explain (and often rationalize) my "way of life" to well-meaning acquaintances. Tiptoeing through these explanations, I must stress that while religion or culture affect many of my decisions, they are not sole determinants of my life choices. I also...

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Why the U.S. Should Support the Protesters in Egypt

(23) Comments | Posted January 30, 2011 | 4:19 PM

The dominoes are falling. First a full-out revolution in Tunisia, and now the streets of Egypt are racked by protests that have engulfed its major urban centers, including Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. What started in Cairo as the concentrated human reaction to decades of lawlessness, corruption, economic decline, and abuse...

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Of Poets and Terrorists: A Terrorist By Any Other Name...

(18) Comments | Posted April 12, 2010 | 11:11 AM

The English poet William Shakespeare famously penned, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Like any great poet's timeless words, Shakespeare's lines continue to offer insightful commentary. William Shakespeare was doubtlessly a giant of his time, a poet whose name has become synonymous with his art. But...

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Get With the Diagnosis: Doctors Should Rally Around Health Reform

(4) Comments | Posted April 8, 2010 | 3:44 PM

Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I was enthralled with the idea that I might be called upon at a beckoning moment to perform a life-saving surgery for a child devastated in a car accident, or have the privilege of counseling members of my community about...

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Failing the Test: Did Our Discomfort With Numbers Doom Health Reform?

(10) Comments | Posted February 22, 2010 | 12:48 PM

Academic physicians interested in analyzing medical decisions among patients have increasingly turned their attention toward "numeracy," or facility and ease with numbers, as a predictor of medical decision-making. That literature, unsurprisingly, has shown that patients who are less numerate make poorer decisions about their health. Findings from a study published...

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Is Your Professor an Islamophobe?

(75) Comments | Posted February 2, 2010 | 3:43 PM

Satoshi Kanazawa is an evolutionary psychologist and professor at the London School of Economics. Although his research as a scientist has ruffled some feathers in the past, his attempts as a "public intellectual" are indisputably inflammatory. In a recent article entitled, "What's Wrong with Muslims" published...

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A Question About Health Reform for Our Newest Senator

(4) Comments | Posted January 21, 2010 | 10:45 AM

In an empty classroom of Oxford's Magdalen College, our ad-hoc "health care discussion group" trickled into its first meeting: three Canadians, two Americans, an Indian, a Pakistani, an Australian, a South African, and a Zimbabwean. In preparation, we had read a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine...

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Muslim Community Leaders and American Politicians: Moving Forward

(5) Comments | Posted January 12, 2010 | 10:06 AM

A growing rash of headlines addressing American-born violent Muslim extremism has simultaneously shocked Muslim America and United States counter-terrorism officials.

Citing evidence that there has rarely been an American-born violent Muslim extremist, the American Muslim community and American politicians have until now, trusted compelling sociologic arguments that Muslims in America,...

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