Issue #127

Silvana Riggio

La Passione

Dr. Riggio is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
She was born in Aosta, went to medical School in Torino.  She came to the States immediately after graduating from medical school where she completed a residency in Neurology at Georgetown University in Washington DC, followed by a fellowship in Neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore; she next did a fellowship in Epilepsy at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. After establishing the Epilepsy Unit at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Florida, she continued her advanced training and completed a residency in psychiatry at Weill Medical College at Cornell.
Dr. Riggio has expertise in understanding the interface between psychiatry and neurology in particular as it pertains to neurobehavior and physical health. Her areas of interest are Sport Psychiatry, Concussion Management, Stress Management and Anxiety Disorders; she also provides executive life coaching services. Dr. Riggio has a strong interest in multidisciplinary healthcare delivery and innovative ways to deliver care. She is trilingual in English, Italian and French and maintains an internationally recognized clinical practice. She has lectured nationally and internationally and has participated in the development of guidelines that have impacted the care delivered to patients with Traumatic Brain Injury.  She is a task force member of the CDC/DoD Concussion definition consortium, a member of the advisory board for the Indian Head Injury Foundation and also for the Foundation for Education and Research in Neurologic Emergencies (FERNE). She won teaching awards from the Department of Psychiatry and from the Mount Sinai Institute for Medical Education (IME). She is one of only few Mount Sinai physicians to have achieved both “Master Clinician” and “Master Educator’ status.
Dr. Riggio is the Medical Director for the NFL Neurological Care Program at Mount Sinai which was established in 2010. She serves as an independent Neuro Trauma Consultant for the NFL and has been recently appointed as the Neurology Medical Advisor Physician (MAC) for the NFL. She is a committee member on the Coalition on Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) and a member of Sports Neurology Section of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Riggio’s other interests includes women’s health issues. She has served on the advisory board for SAVI (Sexual Assault Violence Intervention). She serves as a mentor for women medical students and for psychiatry and neurology residents. She has served on the NYCPS UN Committee on Women Issues around the World. In 2010 she received an award from the Italian government for service in the community (Commendatore OSSI. Ordine della Solidarietà Italiana). Dr. Riggio has authored over 50 articles and book chapters, has edited 8 books and journal supplements, and co-authored one book. She has been the primary investigator or co-investigator on 22 grants.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

I am a Psychiatrist and a Neurologist. I feel privileged as my work is my passion and my passion became my work. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. Tennis, swimming, reading and Taekwondo are my biggest outlets. I also share the love for cooking, the arts and traveling with my husband.

What made you leave Italy and chose NYC?

I always knew that I was going to leave abroad and New York City became my goal. I was intrigued by its energy and the wealth of opportunity that I thought New York offered both from a professional and personal point of view. Living in New York has been a stimulating and fulfilling experience despite the intensity and challenges.

Please share your best memory in the City.

My best memory was when I looked out of my first apartment. I remember feeling “this is my place”. When I arrived in New York I was actually in a wheel chair due to a skiing accident. My 74 year old mother came to help me. Every time she came to an obstacle with the wheel chair, trying to manage  getting  on and off  the side walk, there was always somebody who kindly asked her “can I help you?” and reached out to help my mother with the wheel chair. The consistent kindness and support from strangers is something I will never forget.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

This sculpture by Pomodoro is located outside the atrium at The Icahn School of Medicine in New York, where I work, and reminds me of a globe that sat in the garden of the United Nations in Geneva. I am affectionate to this image as it is tied to my first clear awareness of wanting to travel the world. I was 10 years old. I am also affectionate to Pomodoro’s work in that  one of the first piece of art that I received from my mother was a plate made by him and which also represented a sphere. The Pomodoro sculpture, where I decided to have my picture taken, captures the many aspects of my life, past and present.  Every day it reminds of my desire to travel the world and at the same time makes me travel back to some of the wonderful memory of my youth. Most important it reminds me of my “italianità” and of my real essence.  

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I am fascinated by Alexo Wandael’s creativity and proud to be part of his wonderful project with which Alexo shed some lights on the richness of our Italian community and the contributions that we have been able to make to society at large allowing us to feel closer to one another.

How would you describe being an ambassador of the italian style/culture abroad?

I don’t see myself as an ambassador of Italy. It is Italy itself that it is the receptacle of an incredible, culture and style. Being Italian made me part of a rich culture that emphasized esthetics, beauty, hard work and determination. Being Italian is who I am. I grew up in Aosta, a mixture of different cultures where you breathe style and history everywhere you go. I was also lucky to graduate from medical school at the University of Torino which has an incredible tradition in medicine. It has in fact produced two nobel prizes in medicine. Italy itself has been my ambassador. I am proud to be Italian!

  • Manhattan, NY


  • Time

    200 mins

  • Shots


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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US