Duke Health System president Dzau leaving for new role

Feb. 19, 2014 @ 05:41 PM

Dr. Victor Dzau, Duke University Health System president and CEO, as well as Duke chancellor for health affairs, has been named president of the nonprofit Institute of Medicine.

Dzau will leave Duke June 30 and start serving his six-year term July 1. He will succeed current IOM president Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, according to a Duke Medicine announcement.

Dzau is recognized nationally and internationally for his leadership across Duke Medicine’s academic, research and clinical-care enterprises. He also has been recognized as an acclaimed voice in academic health systems, national health policy, health care innovation and global health, according to Duke Medicine.

Dzau told The Herald-Sun that he has “enormous respect for the Institute of Medicine,” due to its national advising role on health and health care.

He said his greatest accomplishment during his nearly 10 years at Duke was working with Duke employees to improve health care in both Durham and on a global level.

“It’s just been phenomenal people who are so dedicated … I’ve learned so much from it,” Dzau said.

Under the congressional charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine is recognized as a primary source for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.

“I am delighted to welcome Victor Dzau as my successor,” said current IOM President Fineberg in a statement. “He has already contributed a great deal to the IOM, and was a great personal help to me, as a member of the IOM Council from 2008 through 2013. As a physician-scientist and leader in academic medicine, Victor has consistently demonstrated inspirational leadership, innovative thinking and multifaceted achievement.”
Dzau has been the driving force behind the creation of the Duke–National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, as well as the Duke Global Health Institute, Duke Institute for Health Innovation, Duke Cancer Institute and the Duke Translational Medicine Institute.

Michael Merson, Duke Global Health Institute director, said Dzau and Duke Provost Peter Lange came up with the idea for the institute. Dzau then recruited Merson to Duke.

“You can see by all that he’s accomplished that he’s been a real visionary in many ways,” Merson said.

Dzau has supported global research on the design of health systems, as well as the global health residency and fellowship program within the medical center.

“That’s been very important to him, training the next generation of global health leaders, particularly in the medical profession,” Merson said.

Most recently under his leadership, Duke’s health system has undergone a system-wide transformation of its clinical information systems to a single, state-of-the-art electronic health record.

Dzau also led a transformation of the Duke Medicine campus that has added the new Duke Cancer Center facility, the Duke Medicine Pavilion, the Trent Semans Center for Health Education, a new Duke University School of Nursing facility, and a Duke Eye Center building that is under construction.

“Victor Dzau has been a visionary leader and, in collaboration with outstanding faculty and staff, has made Duke one of the country’s leading centers of biomedical research and patient care,” said Duke President Richard Brodhead in a statement.  “He has guided Duke Medicine through a rapidly changing health care landscape with strength, imagination and unflagging energy.”

Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, said he heard from Dzau about his impending career move Wednesday morning. They have worked together for almost a decade.

“We’ve had a close, comfortable relationship,” Roper said. “I told him that I was very pleased for him and excited for the Institute of Medicine.”

Dzau also has maintained an active research laboratory focused on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and the development of new gene and stem cell-based therapies to regenerate and repair tissue damage from heart attack and heart disease, according to Duke Medicine.

He also has served in leadership roles on numerous voluntary community and statewide boards in North Carolina.

David Dodson, president of MDC, an organization located in downtown Durham that promotes community equity and work opportunities, said Dzau is the chairman of “Made in Durham,” a new effort to connect Durham youth with education and employment.

“He has just been a splendid leader,” Dodson said. “His commitment to excellence, his belief in better outcomes for all human beings, just has inspired us and created a very powerful group of people who are committed to these better outcomes for Durham’s young people.”

He added that Dzau will continue to work with “Made in Durham” after leaving his Duke position and help kick-start the pilot program this year, which will connect children to job shadowing, mentoring and internship opportunities.

Even though the job will take him to D.C., Dzau said he and his wife, Ruth, will continue to live in Durham.

“We’re proud to be Durhamites and North Carolinians,” he said. “… Our home is right here.”

“There’s never (been) a better time, an unprecedented time, where the advances in research and the complexities of health care delivery are all facing us as opportunities and challenges,” he added. “And my hope would be for me to take a step back and think about the issues we need to tackle, and try to tackle important issues that make a difference.”