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.