WASHINGTON — Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), has been elected to a second, six-year term, beginning in July. In addition, Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean for Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System and professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory Rollins School of Public Health, has been elected as the next foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine.
Dzau’s election marks the first time the NAM membership has elected its president. Following a national search, Dzau was originally appointed as president of the Institute of Medicine in 2014. The IOM was reconstituted as the NAM in 2015, and now election of officers including the president and foreign and home secretaries, is a central tenet of its governing structure.
Dzau guided the organization through a complex transformation that entailed the establishment of novel operational and programmatic infrastructure for the NAM, as well as a multiphase effort to inform policy makers, health leaders, the research community, and others about the Academy’s role within the newly integrated National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
During his first term, Dzau oversaw the development of a 5-year strategic plan to uphold the NAM’s commitment to scientific rigor and evidence-based advice while generating proactive solutions to urgent global challenges; meaningfully engage NAM members while building the leadership pipeline; and position the fields of health, medicine, and biomedical science within a rapidly evolving social and technological landscape. The plan also centered health equity within the NAM’s mission and vision statements.
Dzau has championed the development of innovative program models within the NAM and the National Academies – including international commissions to advance global solutions in the areas of pandemic infectious disease, human genome editing, and population aging, as well as action collaboratives to foster collective, multisector progress toward improved clinician well-being, amelioration of the U.S. opioid epidemic, and elimination of sexual harassment in academic science, engineering, and medicine. Dzau also launched initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion among NAM members, develop a member code of conduct, and improve election processes.
Dzau is Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the past president and CEO of the Duke University Health System. Previously, he was the Hershey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as chairman of the department of medicine at Stanford University. He maintains an active NIH-funded research laboratory.
As foreign secretary, del Rio will serve as a senior adviser on international matters to the NAM president and Governing Council and as liaison to global academies of medicine and science. His term, which begins on July 1, 2020, and is effective through June 30, 2024, follows the service over the past five years in this role by Margaret Hamburg, chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Del Rio is also a professor of global health and epidemiology in Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the School of Medicine, principal investigator and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, and co-principal investigator of the Emory-CDC HIV Clinical Trials Unit.
Del Rio’s past roles have included chief of the Emory Medical Service at Grady Hospital; executive director of the National AIDS Council of Mexico; and professor of medicine at Universidad La Salle, in his native Mexico. In addition, del Rio has worked for over two decades in hospitals and clinics with marginalized populations in Kenya, Ethiopia, Thailand, and the country of Georgia to improve the outcomes of those infected with HIV and to prevent infection with those at risk. Since his election to NAM membership in 2013, he has actively contributed to the mission of the NAM as a member of the division committee for the Health and Medicine Division (2018-2021), Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice (2015-2020), and various consensus and convening activities.
“I am truly honored to be elected to a second term and have the privilege of continuing to lead this eminent organization in this new decade, especially on the 50th anniversary of our founding,” said Dzau. “I am also delighted to welcome Carlos del Rio as our new foreign secretary. His experience and interests in infectious disease prevention and treatment make him a superb choice to take on this important responsibility. Over my next term, I look forward to working with him, as well as all of our volunteers and staff, to expand NAM’s global leadership and address today’s most pressing health and scientific challenges and inform the future of health and medicine for the benefit of us all.”
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
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