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Clair named Heart Institute Executive Medical Director

Nov. 5, 2015, 10:21 AM

After serving in an interim capacity, Walter Clair, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Medicine and medical director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, has been named executive medical director of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI).

Walter Clair, M.D., MPH

In this role Clair is responsible for providing leadership and administrative oversight for strategic planning, growth and business development to support VHVI and Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s overall mission and objectives for the future.

“I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Clair for his service during the past year as interim medical director and welcome him into this role on a permanent basis. Walter is a talented and collaborative leader whose commitment to the important missions of VHVI and our health system continues to benefit our patients as he helps maintain clinical excellence and our dominant market position as a provider of cardiac services,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health system.

As VHVI’s executive medical director Clair is also responsible for direct oversight of operational and financial performance, human resources and infrastructure, quality of care and patient satisfaction.

“Dr. Clair has the values and skills to lead continued improvement in patient care, and the experience of patients and physicians, as VHVI grows as a premier center of cardiac and vascular care and research,” said Nancy Brown, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine.

Given the complexity and multitude of coordinating interfaces for VHVI throughout Vanderbilt’s health system, including working with Pinson, Clair will work closely with other clinical leaders including the director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, the chair of the Department of Medicine, the chief executive officer for the Adult Hospitals and Clinics; chief medical officer for Vanderbilt Medical Group, and chief of staff for the Vanderbilt Health System to ensure the continued successful integration of VHVI’s broad array of services at touch points throughout the organization.

Within VHVI, Clair will collaborate with the Heart and Vascular Institute’s other leaders: the chief of the division of Cardiovascular Medicine; chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery; chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery; and clinical director of the Division of Interventional Cardiology to develop strategic initiatives related to the overall direction of the Institute.

“It has been great working with Dr. Clair during a very exciting time for VHVI, as we continue to expand our clinical and research activities. I’m thrilled that he has agreed to continue serving VHVI and Vanderbilt in this permanent role,” said Thomas Wang, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and physician-in-chief for VHVI.

“I am very pleased that Wally is the permanent executive medical director of VHVI,” said Michael Petracek, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery. I have worked with Wally for more than 20 years. His dedication to excellence and attention to detail make him the ideal person to lead VHVI’s growth and reputation in cardiac and vascular care and research.”

Clair joined Vanderbilt in 2006. As a clinician he is a nationally recognized specialist in arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, syncope, palpitations, pacemakers and defibrillators and has led a number of firsts for VUMC’s Electrophysiology team.

“I aspire to provide the kind of stewardship that will support and enhance the continued status of Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute as a nationally recognized leader in the provision of cardiovascular care. I want VHVI to be a place that is irresistibly attractive to clinicians, scientists, patients and families who want to prevent, cure or treat cardiovascular disease,” said Clair.

At Vanderbilt, Clair has received multiple cardiology teaching awards and the Levi Watkins Jr. Faculty Award for Commitment to Diversity in 2012.

For the past five years he has served as a mentor for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Chapman College and plans to continue to serve in this role.

He also serves in the mentoring program, 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, which seeks to enhance educational and economic opportunities for the African-American community.

Clair is a graduate of Harvard University where he received his A.B., M.D. and MPH degrees. He was an intern, resident and primary care chief resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Deeply committed to his alma mater, he recently completed a term as vice chair of Harvard’s Board of Overseers after having served on this board for six years. He continues to serve on committees to visit Harvard’s medical and public health schools.

He is married to Deborah Webster-Clair, M.D., an OB-GYN, and they have two sons, Brian Clair, M.D., MBA, and Matthew Clair, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Sociology from Harvard.

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