Age: 39, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Diversity
NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fritz Francois, M.D., arrived in New York at the age of 10, barely able to speak English. “I came from a country where opportunities to develop as an individual are few, so I make sure not to squander the opportunities before me,” he says.
True to his word, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from New York University and subsequently a doctorate of medicine and a master’s degree in clinical investigation from the same university’s School of Medicine. Now, as assistant dean for academic affairs and diversity at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Francois, at 39, is one of the youngest deans at an accredited U.S. medical school. He serves as assistant professor of medicine at the school’s Division of Gastroenterology.
Francois is a three-time winner of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Crystal Award for diversity minority research and, most recently, won the National Medical Fellowships Academic Champion of Health Award. He serves on the editorial board of the World Journal of Gastroenterology. His goal, he says, is “to advance molecular epidemiology research dedicated to addressing health disparities in ethnically diverse communities.” Already entrenched in community service, he has mentored students at all levels of education with a view toward encouraging careers in health fields, and works with community groups to conduct health screenings and inform at-risk groups about colon cancer and viral hepatitis.
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January, Francois led a medical relief team to that country. It was a memorable experience. “While emotionally and physically taxing, [it] was an opportunity to represent those who could not be there to say to those affected ‘you are not alone,’” he says.
What artist would you go on tour with: The Roots
Countries visited: St. Maarten, Sweden
Favorite book/author: Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Dandicat
What actor should play you in a movie: Cuba Gooding Jr.
Favorite food: Rigatoni a la Vodka