George A. Mensah, M.D., FACC, is Director of The Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this position, Dr. Mensah provides strategic oversight and direction for all of the Center's programs. He also oversees and manages NHLBI's late-stage translation research and implementation science efforts as well as its diverse research portfolio.
Previously, he served as a senior advisor in the Immediate Office of the Director. There, he led an integrative, trans-Institute effort to advance the translation of scientific discoveries in heart, lung, and blood diseases research to clinical and public health practice nationally and globally.
Dr. Mensah’s primary focus is on the application of implementation and systems science approaches to address research translation gaps in order to maximize health impact in the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and the elimination of health inequities.
Dr. Mensah is a clinician-scientist trained in internal medicine and the subspecialty of cardiovascular diseases. His professional experience includes 25 years of public service between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the NIH. He has had management experience as a chief of cardiology; head of a clinical care department; and the Surgeon General’s nominee to the Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology as governor for public health.
In addition to his public health service at CDC, Dr. Mensah had 10 years of experience in direct patient care, teaching, and research at Vanderbilt University and the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). He was a full professor with tenure at MCG, director of the medical specialties practice at the MCG Hospitals & Clinics, and department head of cardiovascular care at the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. He holds a merit of proficiency from the American Society of Echocardiography and has been designated a “hypertension specialist” by the American Society of Hypertension.
At CDC, Dr. Mensah held several leadership positions over nine years, including serving as the first chief of the Cardiovascular Health Branch; an interim center director; and chief medical officer at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. After leaving the CDC, Dr. Mensah served as vice president for nutrition science within the global research and development unit of a major multinational food and beverage company. Dr. Mensah is adept at motivating and energizing local and global teams and fostering results-oriented strategy execution. He excels at building partnerships with a variety of organizations.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Mensah has authored nearly 500 manuscripts, abstracts, book chapters, and an atlas on heart disease and stroke published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC. He previously served as chair of the Cardiovascular Expert Group of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GDB) Study, whose results were published in the first-ever triple issue of The Lancet in December 2012. He currently serves as the GBD Scientific Council as part of his official duties. Immediately prior to joining the NHLBI, Dr. Mensah had been offered the position of Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Dr. Mensah has been admitted to fellowships in several national and international societies including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and the European Society of Cardiology. He is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa and a Life Member of the Association of Black Cardiologists. His recent honors include the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University School of Medicine; the 2020 Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society Visiting Professorship at Morehouse School of Medicine; and the 2020 Ancel Keys Memorial Lecturer at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. Dr. Mensah maintains active collaboration with several international groups to advance research on the global burden of diseases and risk factors.
Areas of expertise: cardiovascular medicine, public health science, community-engaged research, health disparities research, and global health research.