May 12, 2011

Dittus Named to Lead VUMC Public Health Programs

Robert Dittus, M.D., MPH, has been named associate vice chancellor for Public Health and Health Care and senior associate dean for Population Health Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dittus will join the senior leadership team of the Medical Center overseeing the research programs that address public health and health care, including epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, health behavior and education, health services research and the quality and safety of care.

He will also oversee the Medical Center’s clinical and outreach programs in community and population health and the educational programs in population health sciences.

The new role increases the depth and breadth of his prior responsibilities as assistant vice chancellor for Public Health and associate dean for Population Health Sciences and means much more than an increasing set of duties. It’s a sign of an even higher profile for public and population health in the clinical, research and teaching missions of VUMC.

“This is a new job that speaks to a new day,” said Dittus, also the Albert and Bernard Werthan Professor of Investigative Medicine. “This is a strong indicator of the institution’s commitment to the health of the community and the quality and safety of health care delivery.

“In the absence of creating a School of Public Health, we’ve chosen a more modern organizational approach. We’re integrating public health into the fabric of the Medical Center, not siloing it off into a separate school. We’re moving beyond excellence in health care to include excellence in health.”

Dittus, who joined Vanderbilt in 1997 and was inducted into the Association of American Physicians last year, will retain his roles as director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health, the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, and the Quality Scholars Fellowship Program.

He will remain chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center for Health Services Research until new leadership is recruited to these roles.

“Bob Dittus’ leadership in our efforts to be innovative in all areas of primary care and community health are already having great impact,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “As we continue working to advance the process of health care, I look forward to the impact of Bob’s vision both at Vanderbilt and in our region.”

Dittus will also continue to be involved in recruiting faculty with a strength in public health and health care research. “Bob has made significant contributions to our growth in health services research and epidemiology,” said Nancy Brown, chairman of the Department of Medicine. “He has a knack for recruiting the best people.”