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Clair named inaugural chair of Department of Vascular Surgery

Jul. 14, 2021, 10:29 AM


by Jill Clendening

Daniel Clair, MD

After an extensive national search, Daniel Clair, MD, has been named the inaugural chair of the newly formed Department of Vascular Surgery in the Section of Surgical Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and professor of Vascular Surgery in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, effective Oct. 1.

A world-renowned leader, innovator and pioneer in minimally invasive vascular techniques, Clair comes to VUMC after serving as professor of Surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Surgery at Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group in Columbia, South Carolina.

Thomas Naslund, MD, professor of Surgery, previously served as chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery, a role he performed with distinction for 21 years. Under his leadership, the division grew exponentially, both in terms of services provided to patients and in top-ranking faculty hired to advance the group’s mission. In large part due to the strength of the division under his leadership, it was decided to transition the Division of Vascular Surgery to a fully integrated department within the Section of Surgical Sciences.

“We look forward to Dr. Clair joining our faculty, focusing on expanding state-of-the-art and innovative therapies to patients with vascular disease, and working collaboratively with the faculty and staff of Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology and Vascular Medicine in the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute and the patient care centers here at VUMC,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor of Surgery and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences.

“I would also like to express to Dr. Thomas Naslund the gratitude and appreciation of the section for his enormous body of work. Over a period spanning decades, Dr. Naslund led the Division of Vascular Surgery to national prominence in endovascular therapies for complex vascular disease, and a reputation for outstanding clinical care.”

Clair received his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he received Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honors. He then completed his internship and surgical residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, a fellowship in clinical oncology with the American Cancer Society and a fellowship in vascular surgery at BWH.

“Dr. Naslund’s contributions to the Division of Vascular Surgery and the Section of Surgical Sciences are immense. Countless patients’ lives are impacted through his clinical care while his research has brought significant advancements to this field. I want to express my appreciation again to Tom for his many years of service to VUMC,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

“As Vascular Surgery evolves into a department, we are fortunate to have Dr. Clair join us as its inaugural leader. I want to welcome him into this new role. His background and experience have him well positioned to lead the department into its new era.”

Clair served in the United States Air Force for four years, and was an assistant professor of Surgery with the Uniformed Services University Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He was recruited as vice chair of the Department of Vascular Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He then moved to Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (now Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons) with his primary practice at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. While in New York, he was honored as a Distinguished Fellow by the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Clair returned to the Cleveland Clinic as vice chair and program director in the Department of Surgery, and was promoted to chair of the Department of Vascular Surgery and Professor of Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Over his 10 years in Ohio, he established the premier program for the treatment of complex aortic diseases in the United States, as well as a leading training program for vascular fellows.

Clair’s research interests focus on clinical trials of new and innovative devices and minimally invasive vascular therapies. He is a widely published author, with more than 130 journal publications and reviews, and 10 book chapters. Over the past 20 years, he has been invited as a visiting professor and to speak at regional, national and international scientific meetings, giving more than 240 presentations on topics related to aneurysms, angioplasty, balloons and stents, branched endografts, deep vein thrombosis, drug-eluting devices, limb salvage, mesenteric ischemia and venous stenosis. He has also served as the national principal investigator for several large, multisite clinical trials.

Clair has served on national, regional and local committees including the Vascular Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery and the Society of Vascular Surgery Education Council. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Vascular Disease Management and the Journal of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Surgery.

“Vanderbilt has an excellent reputation for unparalleled clinical care, innovative research and outstanding medical education,” Clair said. “It is in particular recognized as a great place to do clinical research, and trial sponsors feel it is easy to work with the organization to get new trials running. This recognition of the value of innovation and surgical research provides an ideal location to advance care for patients.

“My career has primarily focused on trying to reduce the impact of vascular procedures on the patients we care for, and I value the ability to bring new technologies and procedures to the facility and the community. I truly believe that with the reputation, facilities and strength of this organization, working collaboratively with the physicians in the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, we can create the best place in the country to go for vascular care.”

Clair and his wife, Patty, have been married nearly 40 years, and they have four adult children.

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