Tyler Clifford, Crain's Detroit, February 9, 2017
Detroit’s public health director Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., said he will resign and run for governor of Michigan as a Democrat in 2018.
Although he has never run for public office, El-Sayed said his work as a public health doctor has prepared him for the challenge.
“I understand what it means to build institutions that provide public good,” he said. “We rebuilt the health department after privatization in 2012 and have since doubled our staff and increased the budget.”
The son of Egyptian immigrants and a product of public education, El-Sayed said he is running because America is blessed to have a government that is for the people, by the people. He thinks Michigan’s public health issues and failing public schools are a result of the state being run like a business, so he could not ask anyone to stand up for people and not be willing to do it himself.
El-Sayed is a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan, Rhodes Scholar, 2011 graduate of University of Oxford and 2014 graduate of Columbia University’s medical school. He is a former assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. El-Sayed lives in downtown Detroit with his wife, who is a mental health doctor. El-Sayed was recognized in Crain’s 40 Under 40 class of 2016.
“I know how much my family values this country as a religious minority and I believe we have a responsibility to stand up for our government,” he said. “We have an opportunity to come together to be motivated by inspiration rather than fear. We are stronger than that; we are stronger together. I want to build a campaign that we can believe in and that values diversity and our strengths.”