Myron L. Weisfeldt, a past president of the American Heart Association who spent the first decades of his academic career at Johns Hopkins, his alma mater, before becoming head of the Department of Medicine at Columbia University, returns to Hopkins Oct. 1 as the William Osler Professor of Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine.
In these positions, he will head the largest department at the university and be physician-in-chief at the hospital.
Weisfeldt, known as "Mike" to friends and colleagues, is internationally known for his research in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including advocacy of public access to portable defibrillators, as well as for his research on cardiovascular aging and acute coronary artery disease. He began his rise through the ranks at Hopkins in 1972 as assistant professor of medicine and director of the Peter Belfer Laboratory for Myocardial Research, became director of the Division of Cardiology in 1975, professor of medicine in 1978 and the Robert L. Levy Professor of Cardiology in 1979.
Since 1991, Weisfeldt has served as the Samuel Bard Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also was director of medical services for the Columbia Presbyterian campus and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Under his leadership, the department's research funding doubled in the past six years, and there was a 30 percent increase in clinical activity. Weisfeldt also served as president of the Columbia-Presbyterian Physicians Network, the managed care contracting body for 1,000 physicians.
He has been on several advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, including serving as chairman of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Cardiology Advisory Board and as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging. Currently he is a member of the NIA's National Advisory Council.
In announcing the appointment of one of medicine's most prestigious positions, Edward D. Miller, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said, "Mike has had an extraordinarily meritorious career in academic medicine, and the search committee was highly impressed by his reputation for setting and meeting very high standards. It's a pleasure to welcome him back to Hopkins."
Weisfeldt said, "Coming back to Johns Hopkins as chair of Medicine brings great personal excitement and, in my view, unparalleled opportunities. The institution is growing in the most exciting areas of American medicine: human genetics, cell therapy, aging and public health," he said. "It is my goal to see that these cutting-edge programs impact on adult health through the next generation of Hopkins leaders in the Department of Medicine."
Involved in the first use of the implantable defibrillator and the initial studies of clot-busting drugs in the treatment of heart attack, Weisfeldt was awarded the American Heart Association's Award of Merit in 1989 and its Gold Heart Award in 1996. He holds four patents and is an author of more than 200 research papers.
Professional organizations of which he is a member include the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the Association of Professors of Medicine. He also has served on the editorial boards of several prestigious cardiology journals, including the American Journal of Cardiology, Circulation and Circulation Research.
Weisfeldt received his bachelor's and medical degrees with honors from Hopkins in 1962 and 1965. After completing his internship and residency in medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian in 1967, he worked as a clinical associate for NIH's Gerontology Research Center. From 1969 to 1972, he was at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital as a senior assistant resident in medicine and then as a clinical and research fellow in cardiology.