Newswise — Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, a renowned expert in addiction and other mental health conditions in underserved populations, has joined NYU Langone Health’s Department of Psychiatry as the Barbara Wilson Associate Professor of Psychiatry. She will also serve as the Pillar Lead for Community Engagement in NYU Langone’s Institute for Excellence in Health Equity and as an associate professor in the Department of Population Health.

Prior to joining NYU Langone, Dr. Jordan held several positions at Yale School of Medicine, including assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry; associate residency program director; and director of the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum and the Yale Global Mental Health Residency Program. Her clinical and research studies focus on increasing access to evidence-based treatments for racial and ethnic minorities with substance use and other mental health disorders, utilizing community-engaged research principles.

“We are delighted to welcome to our faculty Dr. Jordan, an exceptional clinician and researcher whose critically important work in addiction and mental health disparities is changing the lives of many patients,” says Charles R. Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “She will serve as an outstanding addition to the department, providing new insights in how we think about and approach community-based mental health care.”

As the principal investigator of a five-year grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Dr. Jordan is addressing health disparities by providing evidence-based treatment in the Black church for adults with alcohol use and other substance use disorders. Her work focuses on providing life-saving treatment to people that need it most. She is also principal investigator of the Imani Breakthrough Project, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and employing an evidence-based recovery program adapted for use in Black and Latinx churches.

“Faith institutions are playing a large part in the treatment paradigm. One intervention is training community church-based health advisors, who are recovering from addiction themselves, and it is working,” says Dr. Jordan. “These projects aim to understand how to create an inclusive culture of wellness for minority communities from a public health perspective.”

As the Pillar Lead for the Institute for Excellence in Health Equity, Dr. Jordan will further advance strategies for community engagement practices related to mental health equity in community settings. Dr. Jordan was recently asked to provide expert consultation related to mental health equity for the Biden-Harris administration as part of The White House Office of Public Engagement Leaders in Health Equity Roundtable Series. She was selected to participate given her national leadership and scholarship in the field of mental health equity to provide a perspective that is greatly valued.

“Dr. Jordan’s accomplishments and transformative vision to integrate health equity into clinical care, education, and research focused on community engagement aligns with our commitment to advance excellence in health equity and foster a culture of inclusive excellence across our NYU Langone Health,” says Olugbenga G. Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, director of the Institute for Excellence in Health Equity and the Dr. Adolph and Margaret Berger Professor of Medicine and Population Health at NYU Langone Health. 

About Dr. Jordan

 Dr. Jordan completed her medical school and graduate education at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, where she successfully obtained an MD and PhD in immunopathology, after passing her qualifying exam and obtaining a master of science degree.  While training in the South Bronx, Dr. Jordan became passionate about serving racial and ethnic minoritized populations.

Dr. Jordan completed a general adult psychiatry residency at Yale University, where she also served as chief resident. During residency, Dr. Jordan became interested in treating patients with substance use disorders, given the intense stigma witnessed from other disciplines. With that interest, she continued at Yale University in a specialized addiction training fellowship before joining the faculty where she has worked for the past five years.

As a researcher and educator, Dr. Jordan has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles in numerous top-tier medical publications, authored a number of textbook chapters, and serves on multiple editorial boards. She is a thought leader and has given a wide range of keynote presentation both nationally and internationally. She holds leadership roles with numerous professional organizations and task forces, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Black Psychiatrists of America and the National Academies of Sciences Action Collaborative on Neuroscience Training.

“It is an honor to join NYU Langone Health,” says Dr. Jordan. “The pinnacle of my work is, ‘how do we get life-saving treatment to people that need it most?’ The responsibility for change lies with all of us and I look forward to working within a community that’s committed to an inclusive culture of medicine to lead positive change.”