September 11, 2009

Dittus named to new public health leadership position

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Robert Dittus, M.D., M.P.H.

Dittus named to new public health leadership position

Robert Dittus, M.D., M.P.H., has been appointed to the newly created post of assistant vice chancellor for Public Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and associate dean for Population Health Sciences in the School of Medicine.

The announcement signals a higher profile for public health in clinical, teaching and research programs at VUMC.

“It pleases me greatly to welcome Bob Dittus to this new role,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“There couldn't be a better time for Vanderbilt to increase its commitment to public health, to the discovery and dissemination of new population-based approaches to disease prevention and health promotion.

This new post is an important step in our continuing search for better ways to deliver care, better health outcomes for our community and better ways to educate health care professionals.

“With his insight and tremendous experience, Bob will be a clear, forceful voice for public health, both internally and externally as we continue engaging with our community,” Balser said.

Dittus, who joined Vanderbilt in 1997, is chief of the Division of General Medicine and Public Health, director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, director of the Center for Health Services Research and the Albert and Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine.

He also directs programs at the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, including the Quality Scholars Program and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center. His career in clinical epidemiology and health care quality improvement has included work on some 70 research grants.

“I'm deeply honored to serve on our leadership team in this new capacity,” Dittus said.

“It's a privilege to help guide and shape Vanderbilt's efforts in public health, whether it means improving the quality and safety of clinical programs, training tomorrow's academic leaders in population health, or searching for new solutions to improve health more broadly in our community and in the world. The challenges may be daunting but the opportunities are so exciting.”