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Robert M. Califf, MD
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Robert M. Califf, MD

Director, DTMI

Donald F. Fortin, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, School of Medicine

Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research

Principal Investigator, The MURDOCK Study


Box 3850 Medical Center
Durham , NC 27710
Work: (919) 668-8820


Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research, Director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute (DTMI), and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Robert Califf leads a multifaceted organization focused on the transformation of how discoveries are translated into improved health outcomes. Prior to his role at DTMI, he was the founding Director, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), a premier academic research organization. He is the editor-in-chief of American Heart Journal, the oldest cardiovascular specialty journal.

Born in 1951 in Anderson, South Carolina, Dr. Califf attended high school in Columbia, SC, where he was a member of the 1969 AAAA South Carolina Championship basketball team. He completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University in 1973, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1978, he graduated Duke University Medical School, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha. After completing his internship and internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco, he returned to Duke for a fellowship in cardiology. He is board-certified in internal medicine (1984) and cardiology (1986), and is a Master of the American College of Cardiology (2006). Considered an international leader in the fields of cardiovascular disease treatment, health outcomes, quality of care, and medical economics, Dr. Califf is the author or coauthor of more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles. The Institute for Scientific Information acknowledges him as one of the 10 most cited authors in the field of medicine. He also serves as a contributing editor for, an online information resource for healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease.

As the founder and Director of DCRI, Dr. Califf has led many landmark clinical trials in cardiovascular disease. Under his leadership, DCRI grew to an organization of more than 1000 employees with an annual budget of over $100 million. A leader in clinical research, DCRI collaborates extensively with government agencies, global academic partners, foundations and biotech, pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostics companies to execute clinical trials in a myriad of therapeutic arenas. He remains actively involved in the leadership, design, and execution of multinational clinical trials.

As Director of DTMI, funded in part by an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), Dr. Califf’s contribution includes serving as the first co-chair of the Principal Investigators Steering Committee of the CTSA. He has served on the Cardiorenal Advisory Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Pharmaceutical Roundtable of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He was a member of the IOM committees that recommended Medicare coverage of clinical trials, the removal of ephedra from the market, and on the IOM’s Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors. He is currently a member of the IOM Forum in Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and served on the subcommittee of the Science Board of the FDA that recommended sweeping reform of the science base of the FDA in 2008. He was founding director of the coordinating center for the Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics™ (CERTs), a public/private partnership among the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the FDA, academia, the medical-products industry, and consumer groups. CERTS focuses on research and education to advance and optimize the use of medical products. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public private partnership focused on improving the clinical trials system and as the Chair of the Clinical Research Forum, an organization of academic health and science system leaders focused on the improvement of the clinical research enterprise. A member of the National Advisory Council on Aging, he also serves on the Secretary’s Advisory Council on Human Research Protections for the US Health and Human Services Department.

Dr. Califf is married to Lydia Carpenter, and they have three children—Sharon Califf, a graduate of Elon College; Sam, a graduate student at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Tom, a graduate of Duke University—and two grandchildren. Dr. Califf enjoys spending time with his family, working on his golf game, listening to music, and supporting Duke basketball.