Davis promoted to Associate Professor

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Congratulations to James Davis, MD, who is receiving a distinguished academic promotion in the division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Davis is being promoted to Associate Professor, effective July 1, 2020. Ironically, this promotion became effective the same day Duke began its smoke-free campus initiative, which was led by Dr. Davis. His expertise in smoking cessation, mentorship and teaching abilities, and his leadership in the Duke community make him a valuable faculty member and leader in General Internal Medicine.

“It gives me tremendous pleasure to announce Dr. Davis' promotion to Associate Professor. As you know, these academic promotions mark faculty members’ scholarly achievements and are a hallmark of professional accomplishment in our school. Faculty appointed to Associate Professor have achieved recognition within Duke and at peer institutions as leaders in their fields both nationally and/or internationally.”   

- L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH – Chief, Duke GIM

James Davis, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine, effective July 1, 2020

Dr. Davis joined faculty at Duke when he was recruited here in 2014 to be the Medical Director of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation. He has taken several significant leadership roles at Duke and has developed a program of research with national impact. 

A major leadership initiative is Dr. Davis’ development of the Duke Smoking Cessation Program. This program's goal is to provide evidence-based smoking cessation treatment services across Duke Health. The program began services in May of 2016 and since then has expanded to 13 clinics and 3 hospitals within the health system. 

Another significant leadership initiative is Dr. Davis’ development of the Duke-UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) Training Program. Since its inception in 2015, this course has provided instruction to 387 providers from around the US. 

A third area of leadership by Dr. Davis has been the development of the Duke Smoke-Free Initiative, as mentioned previously. In 2015, Dr. Davis began reaching out to Duke University leadership to explore taking Duke University smoke-free. Dr. Davis worked closely with mid-level leadership to construct a plan for policy implementation and eventually won the support of executive university leadership. As the leader of this initiative, Dr. Davis is now recognized as a leader in this field and provides guidance to other institutions undertaking this transition. 

Dr. Davis’ research program has established him as a national authority in the use of mindfulness for smokers. He pioneered the development and testing of mindfulness training for smokers, published the seminal paper in this field, and conducted the first randomized controlled trial on mindfulness training for smokers. He is currently working toward a model for wide-scale dissemination of mindfulness training for smokers through phone and web-based formats. 

Recently, Dr. Davis had a major breakthrough in his research - a combination drug that he developed was found to be superior to active control in reducing smoking. In March 2019, the study results showed that the new drug was superior to bupropion for reduction of smoking. This led to the recent decision by Axsome Therapeutics Inc. to provide Dr. Davis with funding for a multi-site drug registration trial to assess drug efficacy in a larger population. Dr. Davis will be PI on this trial and is working with the FDA to develop the study design. 

Teaching & Mentoring
In addition to his success in research, Dr. Davis is a teacher and mentor at Duke. He provides training to undergraduate and graduate students, medical students and residents. He is a mentor within the Third Year Medical School Study Program and provides lectures in tobacco use treatment for Psychiatry, Family Practice and Internal Medicine Residents. One day per week, Dr. Davis sees patients for tobacco use at Duke Outpatient Clinic and provides clinical mentorship to Duke Internal Medicine Residents.  

On a state level, Dr. Davis works closely with the North Carolina Health and Human Services Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch and has served as an advisor to the North Carolina General Assembly on state-wide tobacco control issues. Dr. Davis also served as an advisor to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on North Carolina Medicaid Reform. On a national level, he serves as a member of the National Cancer Consortium Network (NCCN) advisory board to develop the NCCN Smoking Cessation Guideline.

Congratulations on this outstanding accomplishment, Dr. Davis!