Wake Forest School of Medicine Announces Recipients of Endowed Chairs

February 4, 2014

Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine, has announced the appointment of three new endowed chairs at the school. They are:

  • David M. Herrington, M.D., M.H.S., the Dalton McMichael Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine;
  • Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D., the Kermit Glenn Phillips II Chair in Cardiology; and
  • Michael V. Rocco, M.D., M.S.C.E., the Vardaman M. Buckalew Jr., M.D., Chair in Nephrology.

Herrington is professor of internal medicine, section on cardiology, and vice chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine. He developed and patented state-of-the art image processing techniques for angiographic and ultrasound images to be used in clinical and population research. He has served in a leadership role for most of the multi-center clinical trials of hormone therapy and heart disease in the United States.

Herrington has focused his recent efforts on large-scale multi-center clinical and population studies of the molecular correlates of premature atherosclerosis and clinical cardiovascular events. In addition to his own National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research, he is a collaborating co-investigator with other investigators at Wake Forest University and other institutions on a wide variety of cardiovascular and molecular epidemiology studies.

Herrington has been the principal investigator on studies supported by more than $45 million in extramural-funded research, and has had work published in more than 300 peer-reviewed publications. He has served in a leadership capacity for numerous internal and external scientific, administrative and advisory activities, most notably for the NIH and the American Heart Association. He currently serves as an associate editor for Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics.

A graduate of Davidson College, Herrington earned his M.D. from the University of North Carolina and his M.H.S. from Johns Hopkins University, where he also received his research training in the Welsh Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Kitzman is professor of internal medicine, cardiology and geriatrics. Internationally recognized for geriatric cardiology research, he helped discover a new form of heart failure called HFpEF (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction). The NIH named Kitzman as recipient of its prestigious NIH Merit Award for his leading-edge research.

Kitzman’s roles at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have included director of echocardiography, co-leader of the Older Americans Pepper Center and director of geriatric cardiology.

He has held numerous national leadership positions, including: president, Society of Geriatric Cardiology; U.S. coordinator in the I-PRESERVE trial, the largest international clinical treatment study of heart failure in the elderly; executive committee, HF-ACTION, the largest study of exercise treatment for heart failure; editorial board member for six national medical journals; senior guest editor, Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Heart Failure; and member/co-author of five national cardiology consensus guidelines articles.

In international recognition for his work, Kitzman has made keynote presentations to cardiology professional societies in Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan and Puerto Rico. He has published more than 250 articles in medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University for his B.A. and M.D. degrees, Kitzman completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic and a cardiology fellowship at Duke University.

Rocco, an internationally known leader in hemodialysis and chronic kidney disease research, has held the Vardaman M. Buckalew Jr. Professorship of Medicine in Nephrology since 2006. The Buckalew Chair was established in recognition of Buckalew’s contributions to Wake Forest Baptist and to the field of nephrology. 

Rocco is principal investigator for the Southeast Clinical Consortium Network in the widely known NIH study called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). The nine-year, $114 million study, being conducted in more than 80 clinical sites across the United States, seeks to determine whether maintaining blood pressure levels lower than current recommendations further reduces the risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases, or age-related cognitive decline.

In 2013, the National Kidney Foundation named Rocco as recipient of its prestigious Garabed Eknoyan Award, recognizing an individual for exceptional contributions to the foundation’s key initiatives. Listed in Best Doctors in America and U.S. News and World Report Top Doctors in Nephrology, Rocco has published more than 140 manuscripts and book chapters in the areas of hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, nutrition, chronic kidney disease and epidemiology.

A graduate of Seton Hall University, Rocco received his M.D. at Vanderbilt University and his M.S. in epidemiology at Wake Forest University. His postdoctoral training included clinical and research fellowships in the renal-electrolyte section at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

An endowed chair or professorship is a philanthropic gift recognizing the achievements of exceptional faculty members by providing resources and time for research, education and patient care. It is among the most important gifts to academic medicine - an essential tool ensuring that an institution can retain and attract outstanding research faculty, achieve advances in treatment and science, and help prepare the health care leaders of the future.

Professorships and chairs are established with significant gifts to any academic area designated by the donor. Funds are invested in the School’s permanent endowment, with a portion of earnings spent each year and additional earnings reinvested in the institution.

Media Relations

Mac Ingraham: mingraha@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-3487

Shannon Putnam: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587