Jeffrey R. Balser, a 1984 graduate of Tulane and a 1990 graduate of the Vanderbilt MD/PhD program in pharmacology, undertook residency training in anesthesiology and fellowship training in critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1995, initiating a basic research program aimed at the molecular pharmacology of cardiac arrhythmias. His clinical work has primarily involved the care of postoperative cardiac surgery patients in ICU settings. Dr. Balser returned to Vanderbilt in 1998, serving as Associate Dean for Physician Scientists. He established a centralized mentoring program for junior faculty physician scientists that has been a national model for management of physician scientist career development, and is a core element of Vanderbilt’s CTSA program. His basic research, published in Nature and funded by the National Institutes of Health, explored the genetic precursors to life-threatening cardiac rhythm disturbances.
In 2001, Dr. Balser was appointed the Gwathmey Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology. During this period, Vanderbilt’s clinical services supporting surgery and intensive care medicine grew by 25 percent. In 2004, he became the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, leading medical-center wide research during a period of expansion that moved Vanderbilt into 10th place among U.S. medical schools in National Institutes of Health funding. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and has chaired the NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards Committee. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and is presently serving on the Membership Committee as co-chair of Section 6. Since 2009 he has been dean of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, overseeing all health-related programs at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Balser oversees one of the nation’s fully integrated academic health centers, a system entirely owned and operated by Vanderbilt University. He oversees nearly $3 billion in annual revenue and 21,000 employees, including 3000 faculty in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, over 1000 inpatient beds, and 2 million yearly outpatient visits. He is a national spokesperson on health system integration and finance, and has led national efforts to understand and quantify academic health system financial support for research and educational activity, presently serving as chair of the Association for Academic Health Centers (AAHC) Metrics Initiative. He is the incoming Chair of the AAMC Advisory Panel on Healthcare. Dr. Balser speaks and works nationally on the emerging role of health information technology and clinical decision support in healthcare quality, particularly in genomic medicine where Vanderbilt is playing a national leadership role.