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Honorary degree recipient Victor Dzau recognized as medical innovator, healer of hearts, equity champion
profile of Victor Dzau

Physician-scientist Victor Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree during Emory’s 179th Commencement and will deliver the keynote address at the School of Medicine’s diploma ceremony.

President of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), Victor Dzau is an internationally-renowned physician-scientist who has improved health care around the world.

He will receive an honorary doctor of science degree during Emory’s 179th Commencement. He also will be the keynote speaker for the School of Medicine’s MD diploma ceremony.

His groundbreaking work in cardiovascular medicine and genetics laid the foundation for the development of ACE inhibitors — lifesaving drugs used globally to treat hypertension and heart failure. He pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease and was the first to introduce DNA decoy molecules in humans in vivo. In leading research on cardiovascular regeneration, Dzau developed the Paracrine Hypothesis of stem-cell action and the strategy of direct cardiac reprogramming.

At NAM, Dzau has designed and led the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future, the Human Gene Editing Initiative, and Vital Directions for Health and Health Care. Under his leadership, the NAM has launched the National Action Plan and Campaign for Health Workforce Wellbeing, as well as Accelerating the National Movement for Climate Change and Health.

Vice chair of the National Research Council, Dzau is chancellor emeritus and James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Duke University and past president and CEO of the Duke University Health System.

Among his honors are the Max Delbrück Medal, the American Heart Association’s Distinguished Scientist Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the Henry Freisen International Prize. In 2014, he received the Public Service Medal from the president of Singapore.

Dzau has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and Academia Sinica.

From the time of his childhood in postwar China, having witnessed the indelible impact of poverty and illness, Dzau has been committed to eliminating health disparities among underrepresented ethnic and racial populations.

For almost two decades, he has served in advisory and leadership capacities for the National Institutes of Health and has been asked by international societies, foreign governments, WHO and G7/G20 to evaluate, advise and organize biomedical research and health care programs.

A key international adviser on health risks, including COVID-19, Dzau serves on the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and co-chaired the Global Health Summit Scientific Expert Panel established by the G20 and European Commission.

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