Women Leaders

Barbara Murphy, M.D., Mount Sinai Health System, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Barbara Murphy

A Commitment
to Research

Editors’ Note

Dr. Barbara Murphy’s area of interest is transplant immunology, focusing on the use of high-throughput genomic technologies as a means to understand the immune mechanisms that lead to graft injury and loss, with the aim of identifying gene expression profiles and genetic variants that may be used to predict those at greatest risk. Among her many honors, Dr. Murphy was awarded the Young Investigator Award in Basic Science by the American Society of Transplantation in 2003. In 2011, she was named Nephrologist of the Year by the American Kidney Fund. She received the distinguished Jacobi Medallion in 2014. She also received an honorary degree from University College, Dublin, Ireland. In 2016, Dr. Murphy was honored by The Annual Irish America Healthcare & Life Science 50. In 2018, she was honored as a “Notable Woman in Healthcare” by Crain’s New York and received an Honorary Doctorate from Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Ireland. Dr. Murphy belongs to a number of professional societies including the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Nephrology. Among her numerous achievements, she has held many leadership roles at a national level, including being President of the American Society of Transplantation and most recently being elected as a Council member for the American Society of Nephrology. Dr. Murphy earned her M.B. B.A.O. B.Ch. from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and went on to do an internship at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. She completed a residency rotation followed by a fellowship in Clinical Nephrology, both at Beaumont Hospital. Dr. Murphy completed her postdoctoral training with a fellowship in Nephrology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. As part of this she trained in transplant immunology at the Laboratory of Immunogenetics and Transplantation, Renal Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Institution Brief

Mount Sinai Health System (mountsinai.org) encompasses the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and eight hospitals and receives roughly 4 million patient visits annually. The Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences is ranked 5th nationally for National Institutes of Health funding by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology (datascience.icahn.mssm.edu) operates one of the largest supercomputing centers in academic research and one of the largest facilities for advanced genomic technology development. In 2014, the Institute was named by Fast Company as the 5th most innovative big data organization in the world.

Will you discuss your role and key areas of focus at Mount Sinai Health System?

I am responsible for the clinical, research and education programs for the Department of Medicine, which includes pulmonary and critical care, GI, nephrology, hepatology, hospital medicine, allergy and immunology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, endocrine, and primary care across the entire system with a total of 1,200 faculty.

Women Leaders

We have outstanding basic, translational and
clinical research, all of which is focused on changing
the face of clinical care which will have an
impact on our patients’ lives.

Women Leaders

I work with all of our hospitals in the network, but predominantly Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, Mount Sinai West, and The Mount Sinai Hospital. We have within that six residencies including the newly-added residency for the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx. We also have a very large research program and are ranked number 13 in the country for NIH dollars.

Will you highlight Mount Sinai Health System’s commitment to research?

Mount Sinai has an incredible commitment to research. It’s pivotal to everything that we do. I think what sets us apart is the translational nature of what we do and the ability to rapidly translate our findings, because we are a joint medical school/hospital system reporting into one leadership with an alignment of goals. Many giants of clinical medicine were here; Crohn’s, among multiple other diseases, was named after someone at Mount Sinai. Our tradition is to do translatable research that will have clinical impact. We have outstanding basic, translational and clinical research, all of which is focused on changing the face of clinical care which will have an impact on our patients’ lives.

Mount Sinai places a major focus on diversity and has a number of women leading within the health system. How critical is it for you to be a part of an institution that supports women and provides opportunities for women to grow and lead?

It’s incredibly important. The change really started occurring when Dr. Dennis Charney became Dean. An initiative like this has to come from the top. He has been very supportive and focused on ensuring that we have a diverse faculty, and you can see over the years of his tenure that the leadership at Mount Sinai has changed significantly.

Are we where we should be? No, I would say we are not, but I think we are well along the way, and I think we’re a lot further along than most institutions. We have five female clinical chairs, and females are leads within the basic sciences and over academic institutes. We also have multiple female deans and deans from diverse backgrounds.

The other thing that’s very important is that from the perspective of developing an innovative culture, a culture of change, you need a diverse representation because having voices from different backgrounds bring different perspectives, and that’s not only from the perspective of gender and culture and ethnicity, but also from the perspective of different academic backgrounds. Diversity overall brings change for the better.