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Graduate commencement speaker: Victor J. Dzau

Victor J. Dzau
Graduate ceremony commencement speaker
Honorary Degree: Doctor of Science

Victor J. Dzau is the chancellor for health affairs and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the president and CEO of Duke University Health System. Dzau was the Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and chairman of medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and previously the chairman of Department of Medicine at Stanford University. He has also been named the next president of the Institute of Medicine, a six-year term set to begin July 1, 2014.

Dzau has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering work in the discipline of vascular medicine, and recently his leadership in healthcare innovation. His important work on the renin angiotensin system paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as therapeutics. Dzau also pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease and his recent work on stem cell “paracrine mechanism” and the use of microRNA in direct reprogramming provide novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

In his role as a leader in healthcare, Dzau has led efforts in healthcare innovation. His vision is for academic health sciences centers to lead the transformation of medicine through innovation, translation, and globalization. Leading this vision at Duke, he and colleagues developed the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and strategic alliances with other private and public partners. Their efforts have been aimed at creating a seamless continuum from discovery science to clinical care. Recently, he has launched the Duke Institute for Health Innovation to promote transformative innovation in health and healthcare through high-impact research, new models of care delivery, leadership development, education innovation, and cultivation of a community of entrepreneurs.

As one of the world’s preeminent academic health leaders, Dzau advises governments, corporations, and universities worldwide, serving on advisory councils and boards of directors. He has served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine and the Advisory Committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health and as chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and of the Association of Academic Health Centers. Currently he is a member of the board of directors of the Singapore Health System, governing board of Duke-National University Singapore Medical School, and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Her Highness Sheikha Moza (the chair of the Qatar Foundation and vice chair of the Supreme Council of Health). He is also on the board of health governors of the World Economic Forum and is chair of its Global Agenda Council on Personalized and Precision Medicine. In 2011, he led a partnership between Duke University, World Economic Forum, and McKinsey, and he founded the nonprofit organization International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery and chairs its board of directors.

Among his honors and recognitions are the Gustav Nylin Medal from the Swedish Royal College of Medicine; the Max Delbruck Medal from Humboldt University, Charite, and the Max Planck Institute; the Commemorative Gold Medal from the Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich; the Inaugural Hatter Award from the Medical Research Council of South Africa; the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; the Novartis Award for Hypertension Research; and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association and the 2010 AHA Research Achievement Award for his contributions to cardiovascular biology and medicine.