Born in Haiti of Haitian and Dominican parents, Dr. Fritz Francois is an associate professor of medicine, chief medical officer and patient safety officer at NYU Langone Medical Center.
“I grew up in a time when textbooks listed Haitians as one of the 4 Hs–of who gets AIDS along with homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and heroin users,” he remembers.
“Recognizing how wrong this was, I committed myself to a future where I could be among those who have the opportunity to engage in the science necessary to write those books.”
Dr. Francois is an academic gastroenterologist whose research interests include esophageal disease, h. pylori bacteria, hepatitis C, and colorectal cancer screening in minority populations.
After the earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Francois led a multidisciplinary team from NYULMC to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince to deliver care in diverse areas of medicine.
Besides helping to supply and run the surgical units, the team staffed the triage area, medical intensive care unit as well as the pediatric and obstetric tents.
Dr. Francois then established a fund to support continued relief and he continues to work with support groups.
He has been recognized for his work with underserved minority students, distinguished teaching and post-earthquake relief efforts including receiving the NYU Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in 2011.
As the associate dean for diversity and academic affairs at the NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Francois led efforts to address health disparities through medical education. He has mentored students at all educational levels with a view toward encouraging careers in health fields.
In addition to his parents, he attributes one of the most influential individuals in his career to a research mentor, Dr. Martin Blaser who advised him “Don’t ever be afraid to invest in yourself.”