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A recognized leader in healthcare innovation, Dr. Victor J. Dzau has been involved in many important medical breakthroughs as a pioneer of the discipline of vascular medicine. He is the eighth president of the Institute of Medicine and Chancellor Emeritus for Health Affairs and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University. He has previously held prestigious positions at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University.

As a leader of in the world of health care, Dr. Dzau works tirelessly to implement his vision of academic health sciences centers transforming medicine through innovation, translation and globalization. The Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke- National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and the Duke Institute for Health Innovation have all been developed by himself and his colleagues to assist in this endeavor.

Dr. Dzau has been consulted numerous times by governments, corporations and universities across the globe. As well as serving on the Council of the Institute of Medicine he has held positions on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health and has been chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and the Association of Academic Health Centers. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Singapore Health System, Senior Health Policy Adviser to Her Highness Sheikha Moza (Chair of the Qatar Foundation) and on the Board of Health Governors of the World Economic Forum. He is also chair of the non- profit International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery, a body he founded in a partnership with Duke University, the World Economic Forum and McKinsey.

The recipient of countless honors from prestigious institutions across the globe, Dr. Dzau has been awarded the Gustav Nylin Medal from the Swedish Royal College of Medicine; the Max Delbruck Medal from Humboldt University, Charité, and the Max Planck Institute; the Commemorative Gold Medal from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the inaugural Hatter Award from the Medical Research Council of South Africa and the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts among many others, as well as six honorary degrees.

Full Profile

Victor J. Dzau is the 8th President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He is Chancellor Emeritus for Health Affairs and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the past President and CEO of the Duke University Health System. Previously, Dr. Dzau was the Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

Dr. Dzau has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, pioneering the discipline of vascular medicine, and leadership in health care innovation. His important work on the renin angiotensin system (RAS) paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as therapeutics.

Dr. Dzau also pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease, and his recent work on stem cell “paracrine mechanisms” and the use of microRNA in direct reprogramming provides novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

In his role as a leader in health care, Dr. Dzau has led efforts in health care innovation. His vision is for academic health sciences centers to lead the transformation of medicine through innovation, translation, and globalization. Leading this vision at Duke, he and his colleagues developed the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. These initiatives create a seamless continuum from discovery and translational sciences to clinical care, and they promote transformative innovation in health.

As one of the world’s preeminent academic health leaders, Dr. Dzau advises governments, corporations, and universities worldwide. He has served as a member of the Council of the IOM and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and as Chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and the Association of Academic Health Centers.

Currently he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Singapore Health System, Governing Board of Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Her Highness Sheikha Moza (Chair of the Qatar Foundation). He is also on the Board of Health Governors of the World Economic Forum and chaired its Global Agenda Council on Personalized and Precision Medicine.

In 2011, he led a partnership between Duke University, the World Economic Forum and McKinsey. He founded the nonprofit International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery and chairs its Board of Directors.

Among his honors and recognitions are the Gustav Nylin Medal from the Swedish Royal College of Medicine; the Max Delbruck Medal from Humboldt University, Charité, and the Max Planck Institute; the Commemorative Gold Medal from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the Inaugural Hatter Award from the Medical Research Council of South Africa; the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; the Novartis Award for Hypertension Research; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association (AHA); and the AHA Research Achievement Award for his contributions to cardiovascular biology and medicine. He has received six honorary doctorates.


Victor J. Dzau, MD Speaker Videos Back to top

Victor J. Dzau-Shaping East Asia


"This is a very important issue, both from a society perspective but also an economic perspective," states Dr. Dzau at the World Economic Forum. "If you look at what's happening in this region, recent studies show that 60% of disease burden and deaths are related to non-communicable chronic disease (NCD). That's obesity, diabetes, hypertension and many others. So instead of thinking only about infectious disease... it is important to reduce and prevent these NCD's. These are lifestyle and environmental issues, such as nutrition, exercise, tobacco use, etc." He goes on to state that the panel discussion agrees that "we need to change government policy and to create incentive to do more to prevent and to reduce future burdens of disease."

Dr. Victor Dzau: Promoting transformative innovation in health


Dr. Victor Dzau: From Cancer to Community - The Future of Healthcare Systems and Hospitals



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Dr. Dzau brings his unrivaled healthcare expertise to a series of fascinating talks relating to his vision for healthcare. He explains to his audience how he implemented a new mission, vision and strategic plan for the whole of Duke Medicine to create a patient-centered system fueled by innovation.

He also addresses the need for health disparity to be addressed across the USA and around the world, drawing on the practical experience of Duke's global programs and its community outreach programs in North Carolina.

Dr. Dzau also speaks of the values which are the foundation of his vision; values of doing the right thing for patients and not allowing medical decisions to be driven by the bottom line.

Creating a Patient-centered System

One of Dzau's chief priorities as chancellor has been to better integrate the various components of Duke Medicine. “What I’d like to do is create a common vision and shared goals among all the components -- the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, health system, physician practice, and so forth -- to help them come together and see themselves as one," he said near the beginning of his chancellorship.

To that end, he engaged the entire institution in a strategic planning process which culminated with the adoption of a new mission, vision, and strategic plan for all of Duke Medicine in 2006.

“Together, we are creating a patient-centered system that delivers the right care at the right time in the right place," Dzau says. "We’re working to ensure the same high standards throughout the health system, focusing on areas from patient safety to information technology.”

At the same time, Duke will continue working to produce health care providers well-prepared to meet the challenges of the future and to provide cutting-edge health care that is “fueled by innovation,” as Dzau puts it. For this reason, a key component of the strategic plan is increased investment in translational research.

“We must capitalize on Duke’s inherent ability to think up new ideas and translate them into treatments and services that will improve people’s lives.”

Global Impact

While driving the evolution of Duke’s health enterprise, Dzau also helped launch a university-wide initiative to reduce inequalities in health care across the globe.

"Addressing health disparities is one of the defining issues of our time," Dzau says. "How can you have a country with such enormous wealth, such amazing technologies and medicines, and yet have so many people who don't have access to it? If you translate it to the rest of the world, the discrepancy becomes even more apparent.

"We have people across Duke who are already doing wonderful work to address disparities globally and locally. We have a health system, we have a medical school, we have resources, we have young people who are passionate and compassionate -- we ought to bring this all together and think about ways in which we can make a difference."

Health of the Community

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina is a key focus of Duke’s health improvement initiative.

“We are committed to bringing better health to Durham and the Triangle,” Dzau says.

The medical center already operates a wide range of community outreach programs, he points out. “For example, we have a task force looking at mental health. We have set up health clinics in schools and community centers. But we can do more.

“We need to listen to the communities to find out what they need, and work with the city and county governments to provide for our citizens.”

Values Behind the Vision

As Dzau works to realize these goals, he believes it is important to make plain the values by which he will direct the future course of medicine at Duke.

"We do run a business," he says. "We don't have infinite resources, and we need to be efficient and look at the bottom line. But our decisions can't be driven by the bottom line itself. That's why we need to keep reminding ourselves why we're here -- which is the fundamental reason we went into medicine, to do the right thing for our patients. "Health care may be a business, but it's a compassionate business."





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Creating a Patient-centered System

One of Dzau's chief priorities as chancellor has been to better integrate the various components of Duke Medicine. “What I’d like to do is create a common vision and shared goals among all the components -- the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, health system, physician practice, and so forth -- to help them come together and see themselves as one," he said near the beginning of his chancellorship.

To that end, he engaged the entire institution in a strategic planning process which culminated with the adoption of a new mission, vision, and strategic plan for all of Duke Medicine in 2006.

“Together, we are creating a patient-centered system that delivers the right care at the right time in the right place," Dzau says. "We’re working to ensure the same high standards throughout the health system, focusing on areas from patient safety to information technology.”

At the same time, Duke will continue working to produce health care providers well-prepared to meet the challenges of the future and to provide cutting-edge health care that is “fueled by innovation,” as Dzau puts it. For this reason, a key component of the strategic plan is increased investment in translational research.

“We must capitalize on Duke’s inherent ability to think up new ideas and translate them into treatments and services that will improve people’s lives.”

Global Impact

While driving the evolution of Duke’s health enterprise, Dzau also helped launch a university-wide initiative to reduce inequalities in health care across the globe.

"Addressing health disparities is one of the defining issues of our time," Dzau says. "How can you have a country with such enormous wealth, such amazing technologies and medicines, and yet have so many people who don't have access to it? If you translate it to the rest of the world, the discrepancy becomes even more apparent.

"We have people across Duke who are already doing wonderful work to address disparities globally and locally. We have a health system, we have a medical school, we have resources, we have young people who are passionate and compassionate -- we ought to bring this all together and think about ways in which we can make a difference."

Health of the Community

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina is a key focus of Duke’s health improvement initiative.

“We are committed to bringing better health to Durham and the Triangle,” Dzau says.

The medical center already operates a wide range of community outreach programs, he points out. “For example, we have a task force looking at mental health. We have set up health clinics in schools and community centers. But we can do more.

“We need to listen to the communities to find out what they need, and work with the city and county governments to provide for our citizens.”

Values Behind the Vision

As Dzau works to realize these goals, he believes it is important to make plain the values by which he will direct the future course of medicine at Duke.

"We do run a business," he says. "We don't have infinite resources, and we need to be efficient and look at the bottom line. But our decisions can't be driven by the bottom line itself. That's why we need to keep reminding ourselves why we're here -- which is the fundamental reason we went into medicine, to do the right thing for our patients. "Health care may be a business, but it's a compassionate business."


Victor J. Dzau-Shaping East Asia


"This is a very important issue, both from a society perspective but also an economic perspective," states Dr. Dzau at the World Economic Forum. "If you look at what's happening in this region, recent studies show that 60% of disease burden and deaths are related to non-communicable chronic disease (NCD). That's obesity, diabetes, hypertension and many others. So instead of thinking only about infectious disease... it is important to reduce and prevent these NCD's. These are lifestyle and environmental issues, such as nutrition, exercise, tobacco use, etc." He goes on to state that the panel discussion agrees that "we need to change government policy and to create incentive to do more to prevent and to reduce future burdens of disease."

Dr. Victor Dzau: Promoting transformative innovation in health


Dr. Victor Dzau: From Cancer to Community - The Future of Healthcare Systems and Hospitals