President and Co-founder, Children’s Health Fund

Dr. Irwin Redlener is president and co-founder, along with singer/songwriter Paul Simon, of Children’s Health Fund, a philanthropic initiative created in 1987 that has since developed health care programs in twenty-five of the nation’s most medically underserved urban and rural communities. It has provided almost 3 million health care opportunities for children and families and has been on the forefront of national advocacy initiatives on behalf of access to health care for disadvantaged children.


The Children’s Health Fund began in New York City in response to the grim conditions of children living in squalor in homeless shelters, and pioneered the innovative solution of bringing a “doctor’s office on wheels” to the children. CHF programs were among the first in the nation to emphasize comprehensive care in the “medical home” model and the first to provide an electronic medical records system for the care of homeless children.


A pediatrician who is a committed child advocate, Dr. Redlener has published, spoken and testified extensively on the subjects of health care for children living in poverty, child abuse and neglect, and national health policy.  He served as a member of the White House Task Force on Health Reform during the Clinton Administration. From 1997 through 2003, Dr. Redlener had a lead role in the development of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where he served as president and chief spokesperson. In 2012, Dr. Redlener helped organize leading children’s advocates around the need to make sure that eliminating child poverty and preserving the social safety for kids belonged high on the nation’s priorities.


Also a long-time expert on disaster relief and preparedness, Dr. Redlener joined the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in 2003 to establish the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) and continues to serve as director.  The NCDP has collaborated with Children’s Health Fund on numerous projects, including Katrina and the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, most recently providing relief and recovery to children and families devastated by Hurricane Sandy. In November, Dr. Redlener was appointed co-chair of the NYS Ready Commission by Governor Cuomo.  He is the author of  Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now”.