A prominent cardiologist and distinguished scholar, academic and administrator, Alan Kadish, MD, is a medical Renaissance man. Kadish became president and CEO of New York Medical College in Valhalla in 2011, when the college joined with the Touro College and University System, though he has been in leadership roles at Touro since 2009.
One of the largest Jewish-sponsored educational institutions in the United States, Touro educates approximately 19,000 students at 32 locations throughout the world. With the New York Medical College merger, Kadish now oversees one of the largest affiliations of medical and health education and biological studies programs under one institutional banner.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Kadish says he first became interested in the medical field in high school. “I had only one uncle and he died from a sudden heart rhythm disturbance in his 40s when I was a teenager,” he says. “That had a dramatic impact on me. At that point I was drawn to study that problem and that’s what I did with my academic career.”
Kadish majored in biochemistry at Columbia University. He received his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and his postdoctoral medical training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a fellow in cardiology. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and cardiac electrophysiology.
Before coming to Touro University, Kadish served on the faculty and as an administrator at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. Multifaceted, Kadish not only did research but also was involved in all parts of the medical field.
“I did procedures, I saw patients, I taught and I did administration,” he says. “That’s not unusual for an academic career in medicine, but what is unusual is I did a little bit of everything. These days people are specializing more.”
When asked about who his role models were, Kadish says the first person to come to mind was his father, Abraham Kadish “He was a lifelong educator and scrupulously dedicated to his students. And he was incredibly honest and straightforward.”
He also singles out Rabbi Daniel Scheinberg, whom Kadish studied with for four years in high school and while in college. “He taught me to love learning, to balance a career and study and to maintain a sense of humor in the face of a lot of challenges.”
“My third role model was Fred Morady, a professor at the University of Michigan, where I had my first academic job. He taught me how to balance research, patient care and to have an extraordinary dedication to one’s craft.”
Talking about his proudest accomplishments since taking over as president of New York Medical College, Kadish says, “On the list would be upgrading the physical plant, including a new clinical skills laboratory for medical students and new laboratory space for an incubator.” He adds, “We’ve also added new educational opportunities for students, including enhancing the medical school curriculum, starting a dental school and continuing to support innovative research.”
Not surprisingly, Kadish says what he enjoys most about his job is the ability to do different things. “I have the chance to teach, plan educational programming, comment on research and work with enormously talented and interesting people. I’ve always liked a variety in what I do, and my academic career before coming to Touro was a mix of procedures, patient care, research and administration. That’s what I get to do now. Plus, having campuses in eight cities gives me the opportunity to interact with people in a variety of places.”
Typically, he’s at New York Medical College one day a week, goes to his midtown Manhattan Touro office two days a week and travels the other two days. At the different Touro campuses he is busy planning programs and meeting donors. “But being on the road means everything from spending time with our students in Budapest this past summer to having been a visiting scholar in Philadelphia in November,” he says.
Looking to the future, Kadish says, “Our goals are to continue to prepare our students for the rapidly evolving technology in health care, to grow our cutting-edge research and to maintain humanism in doctor-patient relationships in an increasingly challenging environment.” He points out, “Those are not just goals for New York Medical College, but for the schools in the Touro medical system and for our undergraduates who are interested in health science as well.”
In addition to his work at New York Medical College, Kadish serves as chairman of the Clinical Cardiology Program Committee of the American Heart Association and has been elected to prestigious scientific research and education societies including the American Association of Professors, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Society of Physicians. He has also written extensively in his field, writing more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and contributing to several textbooks.
In his time off, Kadish, who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, likes to bike and read. He has been involved in Jewish education and communal affairs for many years, serving on the boards of directors of several educational, philanthropic and religious institutions. Kadish also loves spending time with his family.
“I’m married and have four children, three of whom are in the New York area so we get to spend a nice amount of time with them,” he says. “We have one grandchild who lives in Israel, so we don’t get to see him as much as we would like but we were just there last month and got to visit with him and his parents.”