April 16, 2004

Dittus receives top faculty honor

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Robert S. Dittus, M.D.

Dittus receives top faculty honor

Robert S. Dittus, M.D., the Albert and Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine and chief of the division of General Internal Medicine, was awarded one of Vanderbilt’s top faculty honors last week during the spring meeting of the Faculty Assembly.

Dittus received the Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award for distinguished accomplishment in furthering the aims of Vanderbilt University.

“Dr. Dittus has received national and international recognition for his work to improve health care in this country,” said Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “But as many awards as you receive from societies and foundations, being recognized by your peers and your home institution is a very special honor, and one that’s well-deserved.”

The cash award, established in 1963, also comes with the official designation as Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor for one academic year. Award winners were nominated by members of the faculty, reviewed and recommended by the Faculty Senate Consultative Committee and selected by Chancellor Gordon Gee in consultation with the Provost Nicholas S. Zeppos.

“Bob has dedicated his creative scholarship to improving the quality of health care in the United States,” said Gee during the awards ceremony. “He has refined Vanderbilt’s Medical Center so that it is able to respond more specifically to the needs of the community, and he has allied us with other powers in the Nashville medical community which also have the public’s health at heart. Dr. Dittus applies his scholarship in service to the greater human community.”

“I am surprised, honored and humbled to receive this award,” Dittus said. “Being a faculty member at Vanderbilt University is an exceptional opportunity which I greatly cherish. I look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts to improve health and the quality of health care.”

Dittus joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1997, and has since helped to expand primary care and develop research programs in healthcare delivery and public health with an emphasis on making care safe, timely, effective, efficient, patient-centered and equitable.

Along with this role as chief of the division of General Internal Medicine, Dittus is director of the Center for Health Services Research, director of the Institute for Community Health, director of the Center for Improving Patient Safety, director of the VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Senior Quality Scholar and director of the Quality Scholars Program, as well as director of the Clinical Research Training Curriculum.

Dittus earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1974, with distinction in the engineering honors program. He completed his medical degree at Indiana University and served an internal medicine residency and chief residency at Indiana. He earned his master’s of public health degree at the University of North Carolina. Dittus was on faculty at Indiana University as a physician-scientist in clinical epidemiology and health services research prior to his tenure at Vanderbilt.

Dittus has published more than 100 scientific papers, been awarded more than 50 grants representing over $100 million in research funding, and trained more than 60 fellows and junior faculty in academic medicine. His scholarship and research programs have also extended outside the United States to include Australia, Kenya, China, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Canada.