Dr. Salinas in 2015.
|Born||July 11, 1983|
Miami Beach, Florida
|Occupation||Neurologist, writer, researcher|
|Alma mater||Cornell University (B.A.)|
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (M.D.)
University of Miami Business School (M.B.A.)
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (M.Sc.)
Joel Salinas (//; born July 11, 1983) is an American neurologist, writer, and researcher, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He practices general neurology, with subspecialty in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry, at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also a clinician-scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Framingham Study at the Boston University School of Medicine.
The subject of his 2017 book, Mirror Touch: A Memoir of Synesthesia and the Secret Life of the Brain is a collection of patient case histories and his personal experience with multiple forms of synesthesia, including mirror-touch synesthesia.
Early life and education
Salinas was born in Miami Beach, Florida, to Nicaraguan immigrants granted political asylum during the Contra War of the Nicaraguan Revolution. He grew up in Miami, Florida with his younger brother and sister, though he spent a formative period in Managua, Nicaragua, after his parents declared bankruptcy under financial strain and temporarily returned to Nicaragua. He was recognized as the Miami-Dade County Student of the Year in 2000 and graduated valedictorian from Miami Southridge High School in 2001.
Salinas earned his bachelor of arts magna cum laude in Biology and Society from Cornell University in 2005. While an undergraduate, he performed research in the Amazon rainforest of Pará, Brazil, studying the methyl-mercury contamination and ethnography of the Gorotire Kayapo watershed, which he described in his honors thesis dissertation on the sociocultural influences that affect people’s response to health risks.
Salinas graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2011. In 2006, while in medical school, a tumor over his right brain was discovered. When successfully resected, the tumor was discovered to be vascular. The tumor was fortunately also benign and its invasion was isolated to destroying the overlying skull bone. From 2008 to 2009, he spent a year as a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow in neuropsychiatric imaging at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, where he suffered a devastating car accident. He also completed a joint MD-MBA program, earning a Master of Business Administration in Health Sector Policy and Management at the University of Miami Business School and winning the University of Miami Annual Business Plan Competition’s Grand Prize.
Salinas completed his neurology residency at Harvard from 2011 to 2015, training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He served as Chief Resident in Neurology, followed by a fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2016.
After completing his fellowship, Salinas joined the staff of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Neurology Department, serving as neurologist in the Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit and the Institute for Brain Health.
Salinas’s research focuses on reducing the negative impact of stroke, dementia, and brain aging by harnessing insights gained from integrating epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and digital phenotyping (i.e., the moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in daily life using data from smartphones and other personal digital devices).
Mirror Touch: A Memoir of Synesthesia and the Secret Life of the Brain (2017) ISBN 978-0-062-45866-7 is a blend of intimate memoir and scientific exploration about Salinas's experience living with various types of synesthesia (including mirror-touch synesthesia), while sharing lessons about the brain and what it means to be human through personal case histories in neurodiversity.
Honors and awards
Salinas’s awards include the American Academy of Neurology's prestigious Robert Katzman Research Training Fellowship Award in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research in 2017 as well as local recognition for excellence in clinical neurology, patient safety, and clinical teaching in neurology.
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- Salinas, Joel; Beiser, Alexa; Himali, Jayandra J.; Rosand, Jonathan; Seshadri, Sudha; Dunn, Erin C. (Fall 2016). "Factors Associated With New-Onset Depression After Stroke". The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 28 (4): 286–291. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.15110388. PMID 27056020. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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- "Superheroes of the Senses: A Pair of Medical Marvels". Reader's Digest. Sep 2016. p. 115.
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- Salinas, Joel; Mills, Elizabeth D.; Conrad, Amy L.; Koscik, Timothy; Andreasen, Nancy C.; Nopoulos, Peg (February 2012). "Sex Differences in Parietal Lobe Structure and Development" (PDF). Gender Medicine. 9 (1): 44–55. doi:10.1016/j.genm.2012.01.003. PMC 3326392. PMID 22333522. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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- Strong, Colby (14 February 2017). "Prestroke psychosocial factors linked to poststroke depression risk in women". Clinical Advisor. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
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- Salinas, Joel; Ray, Roberta M.; Nassir, Rami; Lakshminarayan, Kamakshi; Dording, Christina; Smoller, Jordan; Wassertheil‐Smoller, Sylvia; Rosand, Jonathan; Dunn, Erin C. (1 February 2017). "Factors Associated With New‐Onset Depression Following Ischemic Stroke: The Women's Health Initiative". Journal of the American Heart Association. 6 (2): e003828. doi:10.1161/JAHA.116.003828. PMID 28151400.
- Salinas, Joel; Beiser, Alexa; Himali, Jayandra J.; Satizabal, Claudia L.; Aparicio, Hugo J.; Weinstein, Galit; Mateen, Farrah J.; Berkman, Lisa F.; Rosand, Jonathan; Seshadri, Sudha (June 2017). "Associations between social relationship measures, serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and risk of stroke and dementia". Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions. 3 (2): 229–237. doi:10.1016/j.trci.2017.03.001.
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- Torous, John; Onnela, JP; Keshavan, Matcheri (March 2017). "New dimensions and new tools to realize the potential of RDoC: Digital phenotyping via smartphones and connected devices". Translational Psychiatry. 7 (3): e1053. doi:10.1038/tp.2017.25. PMID 28267146. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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