March 25, 2021

Eight named to hold VUMC endowed directorships

Eight leaders from across Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been named as holders of endowed directorships.

Eight leaders from across Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been named as holders of endowed directorships.

“Endowed directorships honor and support leaders of exceptional commitment who provide compassionate, world-class care, advance knowledge through groundbreaking research and train the next generation of leaders,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer for VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“Generous individuals and families who are committed to VUMC’s future were crucial philanthropic partners, making gifts to fund several of these directorships. I am grateful for their support.”

The most recent directorships are spread throughout many different departments — highlighting individuals who impact patient care in myriad ways.

“We are delighted to honor these highly accomplished colleagues who make critical and important contributions to VUMC’s missions,” said David Raiford, MD, chief of clinical staff for VUMC and senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs. “Their nomination for this distinction is reviewed and endorsed by peers, affording special meaning for such recognition.”

Holders of VUMC’s newest endowed directorships are:

  • Daniel Fabbri, PhD, holder of the DBMI Directorship in Informatics Innovation;
  • Cynthia Gadd, PhD, MBA, MS, holder of the Randolph A. Miller, MD, Directorship in Biomedical Informatics Education;
  • Stephen Jae Kim, MD, holder of the second Jean Ewing Love and James Randle Love Directorship in Ophthalmology (This directorship was established by the late Jean Ewing Love and James Randle Love through a gift in their will.);
  • JoAnn Lindenfeld, MD, holder of the Samuel S. Riven, MD, Directorship in Cardiology (This directorship was established through support from Jan and Stephen S. Riven.);
  • Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI, holder of the James Tayloe Gwathmey Directorship in Anesthesiology;
  • Tonia Rex, PhD, holder of the Marlene and Spencer Hays Directorship in Translational Vision Research (This directorship was established through support from the Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation.);
  • Michael Savona, MD, holder of the Beverly and George Rawlings Directorship (This directorship was established through support from Beverly S. and George R. Rawlings.); and
  • Adam Wright, PhD, holder of the DBMI Directorship in Clinical Informatics.

Fabbri is an assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science. His research focuses on data management and machine learning applied to electronic medical records (EMRs), clinical data and data privacy. Fabbri’s work has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Defense. His efforts have also provided operational support across VUMC through his team’s development of tools for patient engagement, EMR search and crowdsourcing services.

Gadd, vice chair for Education and professor of Biomedical Informatics, has been a pioneer and leader in the field of biomedical informatics for 23 years. Under Gadd’s leadership, the VUMC Department of Biomedical Informatics training program has experienced considerable growth and achieved international recognition. A fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, Gadd develops and evaluates innovative approaches for biomedical informatics education and training to meet health care needs around the world.

Kim, professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, is a nationally recognized expert in the medical and surgical management of retinal disease and uveitis, including the use and monitoring of systemic immunosuppression. He is also a leading authority on the role of ocular inflammation and diabetic retinopathy. Kim is a frequent invited lecturer at major ophthalmic meetings and has authored or co-authored more than 180 journal articles and published abstracts.

Lindenfeld is director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Section and professor of Medicine. She has extensive experience in multicenter randomized clinical trials in heart failure, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. Under her leadership, the Cardiac Transplant program has grown to the largest heart transplant program in the world and pioneered the use of hepatitis C-positive donor hearts. Since joining VUMC in 2015, Lindenfeld has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, collaborating with more than 60 colleagues.

Pandharipande, vice chair for faculty affairs, professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery, and former chief of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine, is an internationally recognized investigator in the area of delirium, sedation and neuropsychological impairments among the critically ill. Co-director of the Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center, his research focuses on the epidemiology of ICU-associated brain injury, its risk factors and improving survivorship. Pandharipande’s studies have significantly impacted the care of critically ill patients around the world.

Rex, professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and associate vice chair for translational research in the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, is a visual system neuroscientist with special expertise in retinal gene therapy. Her lab studies mechanisms and neuroprotective strategies in complex neurodegenerations of the visual system including glaucoma and trauma. She currently holds two National Eye Institute grants investigating neuroprotective and neuroregenerative therapies to preserve or restore vision due to glaucoma or optic nerve trauma.

Savona is professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology; head of Hematology, Cellular Therapy and Stem Cell Transplant; and director of Hematology Research. Specializing in myeloid malignancies and clonal hematopoiesis, he is an international leader in translational science and developing novel therapies. Savona is chair of the MDS/MPN International Working Group. In addition, he is the founder of Clonal Hematopoiesis and Inflammation in the Vasculature (CHIVE), a Vanderbilt-unique registry, biorepository and think tank of experts who work to develop new therapies to block disease before it starts.

Wright is professor of Biomedical Informatics and director of the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center. His research focuses on clinical decision support and electronic health records (EHRs). He helps lead clinical decision support at VUMC and is committed to creating opportunities for people throughout the Medical Center to access data and use the EHR as a tool to improve care. Wright is also a founding member and director of research for the international Clinical Informatics Research Collaborative.

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