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Califf Joins Verily, Leads New Duke Health Data Science Center

May 18, 2017
by David Raths
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One stated goal: develop a stronger presence and role for Duke in Silicon Valley

Robert Califf, M.D., who stepped down as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January, has been named the director of a new cross-campus center at Duke University for integrated health data science. 

This center, which has not yet been formally named, will seek to advance and create inter-campus collaborations focused on health data science-driven research and innovation, amplify Duke’s role in building a nationally regarded network for clinical evidence generation, and develop a stronger presence and role for Duke in Silicon Valley and other areas known for data science innovation and excellence. Califf, a longtime Duke faculty leader, also will assume the position of Vice Chancellor for Health Data Science for Duke Health.

In addition to these new roles at Duke, Califf will be joining the senior management team at Verily Life Sciences, an Alphabet company. He will split his time evenly between his responsibilities at Duke and at Verily.

In a blog post on the Verily web site, Califf explained his new role:

Given my longstanding interest in applying technological solutions to improve healthcare, Verily’s ongoing work was naturally intensely interesting. But because I believe that the primary problem facing the healthcare enterprise is cultural, it also seemed appropriate that I keep one foot planted in a university-based integrated health system. While I was considering different options, Duke University offered me a dream job to match the Verily component. At Duke, I will work to leverage the actionable data science produced by its deep bench of quantitative talent and clinical and operational experts to improve health and healthcare. My goal is not to build a new structure, but to work with consortia across the University and its health system and engage with external partners around the country to advance this mission. To that end, I will continue my work with the Duke Clinical Research Institute and will also have an appointment as an Adjunct Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

As if that is not enough to keep Dr. Califf busy, in March Healthcare Informatics reported that he had been named chair of a new nonprofit organization, the People-Centered Research Foundation, which has been created to sustain and expand a national network for clinical research that originated with funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and studies conducted by the national Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet).

The PCORI web site said its board of governors has agreed to provide up to $25.4 million in additional infrastructure-building funds to support the long-term sustainability of PCORnet through PCRF, which was formed by PCORnet investigators to advance and support the network’s sustainability. 

 

 

 

 

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