Jeff Balser named dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

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Jeff Balser
, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Balser, who has served as interim dean since July 2008, becomes only the 11th dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine since its founding in 1875. In addition to his responsibilities as dean, Balser will be associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs, with continued oversight for medical center research.

“Dr. Balser has earned the respect of his colleagues in the School of Medicine, and throughout Vanderbilt, for his keen intellect, sound judgment and high ethical standards,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “I have great confidence that Jeff will continue to advance the School of Medicine to new heights of excellence, both nationally and internationally.”

“Dr. Balser was chosen from an outstanding group of nationally prominent candidates,” said Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “He is a leader, a clinician, a researcher and a mentor with the energy and insight to lead the School of Medicine to an even greater level of achievement in the years to come.”

“I’m proud to be entrusted with this honor,” Balser said. “As an alumnus of our Medical School, I am deeply committed to the lives and careers of our faculty and staff, and our growing number of students and trainees in the sciences and healthcare.”

After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. in pharmacology from Vanderbilt in 1990, Balser trained as a resident and fellow in anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins, where he joined the faculty in 1995. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1998 as associate dean for physician scientists. In 2001 he was appointed the James Tayloe Gwathmey Professor and chair of anesthesiology.

In 2004 Balser became associate vice chancellor for research, heading a period of significant expansion that moved Vanderbilt into 10th place among U.S. medical schools in National Institutes of Health funding.

Balser is a member of American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the AAMC Advisory Panel on Research, and recently chaired the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Committee. His research has established new paradigms for how the chambers of the heart contract and relax, and is yielding new targets for arrhythmia control.

Balser replaces Dean Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., who left Vanderbilt in June to become senior vice president for health sciences and chief executive officer at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Media contact: John Howser (615) 322-4774