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NYU Langone Provider

Joel Salinas, MD, MBA

NYU Langone Provider
  • Specialty: Dementia & Alzheimer's
  • Treats: Adults
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Phone: 212-263-3210
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When I was in college, I traveled to the Amazon rain forest in Brazil to study the mercury contamination of a local watershed. While I was there, I asked villagers who were affected to share their stories, and I learned something that has stuck with me since.

Decades before, the local people were told by public health officials not to drink the water or eat the fish or else they would be poisoned. But most of the villagers dismissed these warnings—until one came from their village’s shaman, someone whom they trusted deeply. Unlike the public health officials, the shaman listened with compassion to the people he cared for. This experience changed my view of health and society, and it confirmed my decision to pursue a career in medicine.

During medical school, I learned about the mystifying ways our nervous system is the center of our thoughts, feelings, and actions—part of what makes us who we are. It became clear that neurology was my calling.

I wanted to make a difference in as many people’s lives as I could, so I chose to specialize in cognitive behavioral neurology. This subspecialty of neurology provided me with additional training to better help people with brain conditions that are extremely common but incurable.

Now, more than 20 years later, at NYU Langone’s Pearl I. Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment, I care for people who have cognitive decline and impairment due to neurodegenerative diseases. These conditions, which occur when nerve cells lose function and die, include Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in older adults.

Other conditions I treat include frontotemporal degeneration—the most common cause of dementia in people under age 65—which involves a loss of nerve cells in areas of the brain behind the forehead or ears. I also manage vascular dementia, which occurs due to a blockage or reduction of blood flow to the brain, as well as Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

The backbone of my approach to treatment is evidence based. I prescribe medication when indicated—balancing potential risks and benefits—and refer patients to other specialists. These include psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and cognitive, occupational, physical, and speech therapists. When appropriate, I offer people access to clinical trials focused on new treatments.

I also recommend lifestyle and behavioral modifications, including exercise, eating a brain-healthy diet, and engaging in mentally stimulating activities. I advise that people reduce their stress level, receive treatment for any mood disorders, and wear a helmet when biking to avoid a head injury.

In addition, I refer patients and their families and caregivers to essential support services, such as NYU Langone’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program. Clinical social workers assist with counseling, support, education, accessing resources, and care planning.

I aim to provide compassionate and comprehensive care. I explain treatment options and discuss possible outcomes. I am honest and up-front about the many uncertainties that are common in neurological conditions.

I enjoy having a positive impact on people’s lives and making even the most challenging circumstances more manageable. Many patients say they feel I am exceptionally attentive and knowledgeable, and truly care about them.

My research, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses on the impact of psychosocial factors on brain health. For example, I am exploring the influence of social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for dementia. My goal is to develop effective interventions to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

I am the author of Mirror Touch: A Memoir of Synesthesia and the Secret Life of the Brain. In addition, I was featured in an episode of Vital Signs, a podcast from NYU Langone Health and SiriusXM.

Conditions and Treatments

  • alzheimer's disease
  • aphasia
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • early onset alzheimers disease
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • memory disorder
  • memory loss

Board Certifications
  • American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology - Neurology, 2015
Education and Training
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital, Behavioral Neurology, 2016
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital, 2015
  • MD from University of Miami, 2011
  • MBA from University of Miami, 2011

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This provider accepts the following insurance plans.

  • Aetna
    • Aetna HMO
    • Aetna Indemnity
    • Aetna International
    • Aetna Medicare Advantage
    • Aetna Open Access EPO
    • Aetna Open Access HMO
    • Aetna POS
    • Aetna POS (American Express Employer)
    • Aetna PPO
    • Aetna Signature Administrators PPO
    • Aetna Student Plan
    • Allied
    • Chesterfield Resources Inc
    • Christian Brothers Services
    • CoreSource
    • Nippon Life of America-Aetna
    • Nippon Life-Aetna
    • Starmark
    • WellNet
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
    • Anthem BCBS CT PPO
    • Anthem BCBS CT Pathway PPO
    • BCBS Blue Access EPO Large Group
    • BCBS Blue Access EPO Small Group
    • BCBS Blue Access GEPO Small Group
    • BCBS Blue Access PPO Large Group
    • BCBS EPO
    • BCBS EPO (BlackRock Employees)
    • BCBS EPO (LICH Employees)
    • BCBS EPO - Empire EPO (NYU Langone Employees)
    • BCBS EPO - Empire EPO (Sunset Park/Family Health Center Employees)
    • BCBS EPO - Empire NYU Care (NYU Langone Employees)
    • BCBS EPO - Empire NYU Care (Sunset Park/Family Health Center Employees)
    • BCBS Federal Program
    • BCBS Florida Blue Care HMO
    • BCBS Florida Blue Medicare PPO
    • BCBS Florida Blue Options PPO
    • BCBS Florida Blue Select
    • BCBS Florida MyBlue HMO
    • BCBS Florida Simply Blue
    • BCBS Florida Traditional PPC
    • BCBS HMO
    • BCBS Indemnity
    • BCBS Local 32BJ Employees
    • BCBS Mediblue Medicare HMO
    • BCBS Mediblue Medicare PPO
    • BCBS Mediblue Select HMO/Extra HMO
    • BCBS POS
    • BCBS PPO
    • BCBS PPO (BlackRock Employees)
    • BCBS PPO (LICH Employees)
    • BCBS PPO - Empire PPO (Sunset Park/Family Health Center Employees)
    • BCBS PPO/EPO Small Group
    • New York Hotel Trades
  • Cigna
    • Apwu Health Plan
    • Cigna - Humana
    • Cigna Great West PPO
    • Cigna HMO
    • Cigna Indemnity
    • Cigna Managed Care/POS
    • Cigna Medicare Advantage
    • Cigna NALC
    • Cigna Open Access
    • Cigna Open Access PPO
    • Cigna Oscar
    • Cigna PPO
    • Cigna Premier Plus
    • Great West HMO
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • MVP-Cigna Network
    • Wellfleet-NYU Student
  • Connecticare
    • Connecticare Bridge
    • Connecticare Commercial
  • Emblem
    • Emblem Select Care Bronze Small Group
    • Emblem Select Care EPO
    • Emblem Select Care Gold Small Group
    • Emblem Select Care HMO
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    • Emblem Select Care Platinum Small Group
    • Emblem Select Care Silver Small Group
  • GHI
    • American Plan Administrators
    • GHI CBP (City of New York Employees)
    • GHI Emblem Health EPO
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    • GHI Medicare PPO
    • GHI Medicare Supplement
    • GHI Network Access - Benefit Services of PA
    • GHI Network Access - Humana
    • GHI Network Access - Total Plan Concepts
    • IUOE Local 14-14B
    • Wlny-TV Inc.
  • HIP
    • HIP Access I
    • HIP Access II
    • HIP Bridge
    • HIP Child Health Plus
    • HIP EPO
    • HIP HMO
    • HIP Medicare Supplement
    • HIP POS
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    • HIP Prime Gold
    • HIP Prime Gold Exchange
    • HIP Prime Platinum
    • HIP Prime Platinum Exchange
    • HIP Prime Silver
    • HIP Prime Silver Exchange
    • HIP VIP Medicare Bold
    • HIP VIP Medicare Prime
    • Vytra HMO
  • Local 1199
    • Local 1199 - NYU Hospital Member Choice
    • Local 1199 PPO
  • Magnacare
    • Magnacare PPO
  • Medicare
    • Medicare Part A and B
    • Medicare Part B
  • Multiplan
    • AXA Assistance USA
    • Administrative Concepts
    • Beech Street PPO
    • Diversified Administration Corporation
    • Fiserv Health
    • GEHA
    • Global Excel
    • Global Health
    • Guardian Life Insurance Co Of America
    • Health Net Of California
    • Health Republic Of NJ
    • Insurance Design Administrators
    • Kaiser Foundation
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Meritain Health
    • Multiplan PPO
    • Multiplan-Capital Dist Phys Health
    • Mutual Of Omaha
    • Nippon Life Ins Co
    • PHCS
    • Professional Benefit Admin
    • Qualcare Inc
    • Screen Actors Guild
    • Teamsters Allied Benefits
    • US Life Insurance Company
  • NYSHIP - The Empire Plan
    • NYS Health Insurance Plan - The Empire Plan, Excelsior Plan, NY Student Employee Health Plan
  • Oxford
    • Oxford Health Plans Freedom
    • Oxford Health Plans Liberty
  • POMCO Insurance Company
    • POMCO Insurance Company
  • Qualcare Inc.
    • Qualcare Direct
  • Railroad Medicare
    • Palmetto GBA Railroad Medicare
  • United Healthcare
    • AARP Medicare Complete
    • Bind Benefits inc
    • Oxford Health Plans Medicare Advantage
    • UMR
    • Unite Healthcare (NY University Care Plan)
    • United Healthcare AARP
    • United Healthcare All Savers
    • United Healthcare Choice
    • United Healthcare Choice (AMEX employees)
    • United Healthcare Choice (Blackrock employees)
    • United Healthcare Choice (CBS employees)
    • United Healthcare Choice (Simon
    • United Healthcare EPO
    • United Healthcare EPO (NYU Langone Health Employees)
    • United Healthcare Golden Rule Insurance
    • United Healthcare HMO
    • United Healthcare Healthscope
    • United Healthcare Indemnity
    • United Healthcare Indemnity (NYU Langone Health Employees)
    • United Healthcare Medicare
    • United Healthcare Navigate
    • United Healthcare Nexus
    • United Healthcare Nexus (Amex Employees)
    • United Healthcare POS
    • United Healthcare PPO
    • United Healthcare Plus (NYU Langone Health Employees)
    • United Healthcare Student Resources
    • United Healthcare Student Resources (NYU)
    • United Healthcare Value, Advantage and HDHP (New York University employees)
    • UnitedHealthcare Choice (NY Power Authority Employees)
  • VA Community Care Network
    • VA CCN Optum
View All Accepted Plans This list of insurances changes regularly, and insurance plans listed may not be accepted at all office locations for this provider. Before your appointment, please confirm with your insurance company that this provider accepts your insurance.

Joel Salinas, MD, MBA does not accept insurance.

Locations and Appointments

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Pearl I. Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation & Treatment

145 East 32nd Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016


social determinants of health, cognitive resilience, brain health, cognitive aging, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegenerative disease, population health

Research Summary

Dr. Joel Salinas is a cognitive-behavioral neurologist with expertise in epidemiology and health outcomes research. As director of the UNICORN Lab, his mission is to understand how our social environments and our brain biology are linked together and harness what we learn to design and implement strategies for improving brain health at the population level using interventions that are universal, precise, and human-centered.

Healthy brain functioning is vital for our society to flourish. Yet dementia and cerebrovascular disease remain extremely common and devastating neurologic diseases; drug trials to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia remain largely unsuccessful. Thus, these age-related neurologic diseases not only represent a persistent slow-growing threat to our society, but also a looming threat to each of us and our loved ones.

Many established risk factors for these diseases are based in biology and physiology, such as genetics and high blood pressure, though an emerging body of evidence suggests that the risk and course of these diseases may be heavily influenced much further upstream by a category of potentially modifiable risk factors known as social determinants. One social determinant that is of specific interest is social relationships. Improved physical and mental health are closely associated with stronger social relationships, which encompass distinct functional (social support) and structural elements (social networks). The evidence implicating social isolation and loneliness with higher risk of stroke, cognitive dysfunction, and accumulation of Alzheimer’s disease pathology suggests that a complementary socially-based approach to potential therapeutic targets is necessary.

Studying social determinants for their impact on brain health could help us learn how to leverage them for prevention and therapy. Underlying molecular responses to genetic and environmental exposures begin early in disease development, so the parallel study of related preclinical molecular, physiological, neuropsychological, and imaging markers of vulnerability for cognitive decline allows for a unique opportunity to identify neurobiological pathways for the social determinants of brain health. Therefore, he uses the intersection of biology and sociology to understand the mechanisms through which social environments alter brain biology and use these insights to improve brain health for the population. His research specifically applies socio-behavioral science, health outcomes research methods, and mathematical network theory in longitudinal epidemiologic cohorts to identify the influence of a person’s social environment as an independent predictor of brain health outcomes, particularly cognitive resilience and markers of vulnerability for cognitive decline. These findings then inform social interventions that are designed to balance between being universal (able to be scaled at the population level; equally representative and accessible to underrepresented minority groups), precise (despite being universal, the same intervention is designed to be complex and nuanced enough on the “back end” that it can dynamically address specific barriers, motivations, needs, and other characteristics at the level of the individual), and human-centered (commitment to authentic empathy, compassion, and kindness to involve the human perspective in all steps of the process with a focus on improving brain health outcomes that truly matter to the person). His research approach is uniquely positioned to contribute to the next generation of insights, tools, and strategies that ultimately will:  (1) provide practical and empowering guidance to patients, clinicians, and caregivers; (2) clarify the temporal relationship between dynamic social determinants in relation to risk and biological progression of cognitive decline; (3) enhance intervention studies in Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions; and, (4) extend beyond neurology to increase our wider mechanistic understanding of the social determinants of health and aging.

Improving our understanding of social determinants of brain health will provide the backbone for a novel, paradigm-shifting clinical approach to treat age-related neurologic disease and radically improve population health. This work, at a minimum, will generate useful findings to contextualize existing work, inform future health interventions, and support emerging areas of clinical research in neurology. In the long term, Dr. Salinas and the UNICORN Lab are committed to advancing these methods and concepts to one day create a virtuous cycle between the physical, mental, and social aspects of health that are necessary for all of us to thrive.

Academic Contact

Academic office

222 East 41st Street

14th Floor

New York, NY 10017





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