January 7, 2021

Freedman named director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Jane Freedman, MD, will join Vanderbilt University Medical Center as director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the physician-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, effective Aug. 1.

Jane Freedman, MD, will join Vanderbilt University Medical Center as director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the physician-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, effective Aug. 1.

Jane Freedman, MD

Freedman comes to Vanderbilt from University of Massachusetts Memorial Heart & Vascular Center, where she is Edward Budnitz Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, director of translational research and director of the High-Throughput Gene Expression and Biomarker Core Lab.

Freedman’s primary research interests include thrombosis, inflammation and cardiovascular disease; immunity and thrombosis; the role of gene expression in precision medicine; and extracellular and noncoding RNAs in disease.

Her laboratory is engaged in multiple studies in large populations on two major tracks. One is examining the role of cells that cause clots, such as platelets, in creating immunity and how that relates to heart disease. The other is examining the role of RNAs and proteins and their relationship with the origins of heart disease. Ultimately, Freedman hopes to apply the findings of these large group studies to individuals, creating more precise therapies and diagnoses.

As director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt, Freedman will oversee the division’s research activities, the clinical program and fellowship training.

“I decided to come to Vanderbilt because it is a remarkable place with incredible people and exceptional talent,” Freedman said. “It is an honor to be chosen for this position. Through my meetings with the faculty and leadership, I became even more sure that Vanderbilt was the most exciting and vibrant division of cardiology in the country.”

Freedman is the first woman to lead the Division of Cardiology at Vanderbilt and one of only a handful of female cardiology chiefs nationwide. In a survey of 140 programs in the U.S. identifying a cardiology division chief, only seven of the directors were female, according to a 2019 article published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

“Dr. Freedman is a national and international leader in the molecular pathways contributing to thrombosis and vascular disease, and a world-class cardiologist,” said Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Hugh J. Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the department. “Her mechanistic approach to understanding cardiovascular disease has resulted in real-world changes in how we categorize and manage cardiac disease. Her talents and strengths are extremely well suited to Vanderbilt’s collaborative and integrated style of personalized medicine, and the future of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt under her leadership is incredibly bright.”

Freedman earned her undergraduate degree from Yale University and medical degree from Tufts University prior to completing a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowship training at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

She held faculty positions at Georgetown University and Boston University before assuming her current position in 2011.

Freedman succeeds Thomas Wang, MD, who was appointed chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in February 2020. Dan Roden, MD, serves as interim director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine until Freedman arrives.

The division has nationally recognized clinical programs in areas such as heart failure/transplant, arrhythmia management, valvular disease, lipid biology/vascular disease, cardio-oncology and has an annual research budget of about $25 million, largely from the NIH and AHA.

“The last year has highlighted for me the division’s incredible strengths in delivering excellent clinical care, in our research program, and in training leaders of tomorrow,” Roden said. “We have become one of the leading cardiovascular centers in the country and I am confident that Jane Freedman will take us to even greater national and international prominence.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Freedman to Vanderbilt,” added Daniel Muñoz, MD, MPA, executive medical director of the Patient Care Center (PCC) at Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI). “She is a world-class cardiovascular investigator who brings an exciting, forward-leaning vision for growth and further strengthening of our clinical programs. I look forward to the partnership and to her leadership of the division and of VHVI in the years to come.”