Dr Shereef Elnahal Joins JDRF Research Committee

JDRF, the world's largest nonprofit funder of type 1 diabetes research, announced the appointment of Shereef Elnahal, MD, to its research committee.

Shereef Elnahal, MD, the president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, has been appointed to JDRF’s research committee, according to a company statement. JDRF is the largest nonprofit funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in the world and aims to accelerate breakthroughs to cure, prevent, and treat the disease and its complications.

Elnahal previously served as New Jersey’s 21st Health Commissioner and as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for quality, safety, and value in the US Department of Veterans Affairs in the Obama administration.

Elnahal has also been living with T1D since the age of 12, and throughout his varied career he has solidified his reputation as a proponent of equitable health care. University Hospital is the state’s largest safety net hospital.

“Being a type 1 diabetic has truly shaped who I am as a person and a professional,” Elnahal said. “I am confident that my role in leading New Jersey’s only public hospital, serving the most vulnerable in Newark and the surrounding region, will lend weight in prioritizing the health and well-being of similar communities around the world with folks struggling with T1D.”

The volunteer role constitutes serving on a 10-person committee to review and approve JDRF’s research strategy, proposed funding allocations, and opportunities aligned to the strategy, and provides the perspective of people with diabetes, the statement reads. The committee also governs program allocations and approval of any grant totaling more than $1 million.

JDRF is composed of staff and volunteers in the United States and 5 additional international affiliates.

In a February 2021 interview with Chief Healthcare Executive™, Elnahal discussed his experience as head of University Hospital in northern New Jersey during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this experience—and really in any experience that has this degree of urgency and stress on your operation or your staff and everything in between—the most important thing to level-set on as a leader is reminding yourself why you exist and why you’re there, which is to support the frontline care givers in your hospital and your institution, and their essential function in providing life-saving care to patients” he said.

“That is the most important perspective that got us through, and I think made us effective leaders at our hospital during the pandemic.”