Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman, a leading specialist in pediatric genetic medicine, has been named chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, effective March 1.
The Division of Medical Genetics provides inpatient and outpatient consultation and medical care for children and adolescents with common and rare genetic conditions, including screening and counseling for inherited disease risk during pregnancy. Dr. Abdul-Rahman, who was recruited to Weill Cornell Medicine as the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Professor of Pediatrics, succeeds Dr. Christopher Cunniff, who has led the division since 2014 and remains on the institution’s voluntary faculty as a clinical professor of pediatrics.
In addition to his role as division chief, Dr. Abdul-Rahman will serve as director of clinical genomics for women’s and children’s health at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, with close collaboration with counterparts at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He will also serve as the Director of Clinical Genetics of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Dr. Abdul-Rahman was recruited from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he served as director of the Department of Genetic Medicine and the Friedland Professor at the Munroe-Meyer Institute. His research has included using facial recognition software with artificial intelligence to improve the identification of congenital conditions, such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and the clinical utility of using whole genome sequencing for managing acutely ill infants with suspected genetic diseases.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Abdul-Rahman as our new chief of medical genetics,” said Dr. Sallie Permar, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital. “As an outstanding clinician, scientist and educator, Dr. Abdul-Rahman is well-poised to lead our Division of Medical Genetics and take our genetics programs to new heights. I look forward to working with him as we integrate and grow programs and services for women and children and advance multidisciplinary research in medical genetics across our institutions.”
“I’m incredibly excited to step into this new role,” Dr. Abdul-Rahman said. “Genetics touches every disease and condition from the moment of conception. I look forward to leading and working with multidisciplinary specialists to improve access to care. I am also committed to advancing precision medicine research aimed at improving clinical outcomes for babies and children with genetic conditions and their families.”
In his new role, Dr. Abdul-Rahman will lead a skilled team of physicians and scientists focused on advancing clinical care, research and education in pediatric clinical genetics. He will create a new strategic plan to streamline and improve clinical care access, including in the communities served by NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. He will develop new clinical translational research programs and increase training opportunities for physician-scientists specializing in clinical genetics. And he will further develop collaborations between colleagues in the divisions of Medical Genetics, Newborn Medicine and Child Neurology in the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine.
At the Englander Institute, Dr. Abdul-Rahman will lead efforts to identify genetic alterations that drive diseases with the goal of revealing new treatment options for pediatric patients.
“I look forward to working with Dr. Abdul-Rahman,” said Dr. Olivier Elemento, director of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine and a professor of physiology and biophysics and of computational genomics in computational biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “His experience using artificial intelligence to improve clinical care in pediatric patients will be an asset to our team. He shares our vision for developing precision medicine tools, such as genetics, genomic sequencing and clinical data, that may identify genetic conditions sooner than is possible today.”
About Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman
Dr. Abdul-Rahman received his medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, followed by a residency in medical genetics at Stanford University.
Dr. Abdul-Rahman has long championed increasing patients’ access to medical genetics. He received the Outstanding Pediatric Faculty Award (Evans Award) from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in May 2014, and delivered the keynote speech for the Gold Humanism Honor Society’s induction ceremony in September 2014, in recognition of his leadership in compassionate care for children born with rare genetic diseases and their families.
Dr. Abdul-Rahman has co-authored numerous articles published in leading peer-reviewed journals. He is a professional member of the Research Society on Alcoholism and its affiliated Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group, and he continues to hold an adjunct faculty appointment with the University of Nebraska.
As invited faculty, he has given several workshops on diagnosing FAS for the World Health Organization International Collaborative Research Project on Child Development and Prenatal Risk Factors in various countries including Belarus, Chile, Namibia and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Abdul-Rahman is also co-editor of a textbook for clinicians worldwide on diagnosing FAS, with an anticipated publication date this spring.