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Public Profile

Ralph Sacco, MD
Ralph Sacco, MD

    Dr. Ralph L. Sacco is the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, chairman of the neurology department, and the Miller Professor of Neurology, Epidemiology, and Human Genetics at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, and chief of neurology service at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was formerly professor of neurology and director of the stroke and critical care division at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the Sergievsky Center. Dr. Sacco took office for a one-year term as president of the American Heart Association (AHA) in July 2010. His election marks the first time a neurologist has been named this position

    Dr. Sacco graduated from Cornell University with distinction, received his medical degree cum laude from Boston University School of Medicine, and a master's degree in epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Sacco completed a residency in neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University and at Presbyterian Hospital. He completed his postdoctoral training in stroke and epidemiology at Columbia under a NINDS-funded neuroepidemiology training grant.

    Dr. Sacco's clinical research activities began in 1980 when he participated in the Framingham Heart Study. Since 1990, he has been the principal investigator of the Northern Manhattan Study, an NIH-funded, community-based, epidemiologic study designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors, and prognosis in an elderly, multi-ethnic, urban population living in northern Manhattan in New York City. This study now includes a separate NINDS-funded project, the Northern Manhattan Family Study, to evaluate potential genetic determinants of stroke risk factors.

    Dr. Sacco was also the founding principal investigator of the New York Columbia Collaborative Specialized Program in Translational Research in Acute Stroke. He is also co-investigator of six other NINDS grants. He has been involved in the design and conduct of multiple randomized trials including the co-principal investigator of the Warfarin Aspirin Recurrent Stroke Study, the principal investigator of the Glycine Antagonist in Neuroprotection Trial, and the current co-chair of the international PRoFESS Study (Prevention Regimen for Effectively avoiding Second Strokes). He serves on the Data Safety and Monitoring Boards of a number of NIH and pharmaceutical-sponsored clinical trials. In addition, Dr. Sacco is on the editorial board of Stroke, Neuroepidemiology, and Nature Clinical Practice Neurology (now known as Nature Reviews Neurology). He has published extensively in the areas of stroke prevention, treatment, risk factors and stroke recurrence, with more than 475 original articles, case reports, book chapters, abstracts and communications to his credit. He has been a principal author on numerous evidence-based guidelines from the AHA and ACCP; and he has helped train numerous fellows in stroke and epidemiology. He was awarded the 2006 Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke and the 2007 Chairman's Award from the American Heart Association. In 2008, he received the Javits Award in Neuroscience and was inducted into the American Association of Physicians.

    Dr. Sacco is a fellow of the Stroke and Epidemiology Councils of the American Heart Association, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, a member of the American Neurological Association, past chair of the Clinical Research Committee of the American Academy of Neurology, and on the medical advisory board of the Hazel K. Goddess Fund for Stroke Research in Women. He is a past member of the Epidemiology and Disease Control-3 NIH Study Section, NINDS Neuroscience Training Review Committee, and FDA Advisory Panel for Central and Peripheral Nervous System Drugs. He is a former member of the board of directors for the American Heart Association, a current member of the board for the American Academy of Neurology and past-president of the New York City AHA Board. He is a member of the Stroke Prevention Advisory Panel of the National Stroke Association, and is chair of the Stroke Advisory Committee of the American Stroke Association.

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