He’s an Assistant Professor at New York University’s Langone Health Center, but Dr. Azizi Seixas’s career can’t be summed up in one title. Dr. Seixas (Say-shas) is also a seasoned biomedical researcher, scientist, communicator, health-tech innovator, sought-after speaker, and consultant to some of the world’s most recognizable organizations, from NBC Health News, where he’s the in-house sleep expert, to the Department of Defense, where he serves on the Mental Health Task Force.
It’s a mouthful of an answer when asked, “What do you do?” but Dr. Seixas has never followed a pre-defined path. Growing up in inner-city Jamaica, he got his drive from his hard-working single mother who earned a college, then a Master’s degree while working full-time. His passion came from his force-of-nature grandmother, who taught him to question the status quo. “The two things in life that level-off human beings are death and education,” she told young Azizi. So he set about getting an education. With his hard-earned Ph.D. in hand, Dr. Seixas’ began working as an assistant professor at City University of New York’s Hostos Community College. While there, he applied to a summer training opportunity at New York University focusing on sleep and behavioral medicine and was offered a spot—despite being the only assistant professor from a community college to apply.
Once in the program, he discovered his passion for sleep as one of the four main pillars of health and developed a keen interest in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and health technology. He joined NYU School of Medicine Department of Population Health and the Department of Psychiatry after receiving an NIH grant. This was the opportunity he dreamed of and once he hit his stride doing pioneering research, he received several other NIH grants, one of which received a perfect score (a rare accomplishment for any scientist), to continue his exploration of improving population health and making healthcare work for all. Today, he has over 100 publications, book chapters, and conference presentations to his credit, and his work has appeared in media outlets such as CBS, CNN, NBC, The Associated Press, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Dr. Seixas currently serves as the Chair for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum and a member of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning sub-committee for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and was named a finalist for the 2019 Google Next Conference in London. Still, he prefers to define himself as husband to Meghan, and the father of his two children, Zahra and Khari.