Robert M. Califf, MD, who is on leave from Duke to serve as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, received the American Heart Association's Research Achievement Award for 2016 “for his visionary clinical research leading to paradigm-changing procedures that have directly and significantly improved, in innumerable ways, the management of patients with cardiovascular disease.”
Prior to taking the leave of absence from Duke and joining the FDA, Califf served as vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke, executive director and founder of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. He is a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology.
Califf received the award, a citation and $2,500 honorarium on Nov. 13 during the opening of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016. AHA President Steven Houser, PhD, of Temple University in Philadelphia, made the presentation.
“Beginning in the mid-1980s, Dr. Califf led a global team of investigators in forming a collaboration to study novel therapeutic approaches for patients with heart disease,” Houser said as he presented the award. This group carried out 10 multicenter clinical trials that evaluated reperfusion strategies for heart attack. The success of these trials led to a worldwide comparison of the clot-busting drugs streptokinase and tissue plasminogen activator to treat coronary blockages.
Califf was among pioneers creating the Duke University Database for Cardiovascular Disease, which remains the world’s largest and longest-established observational database of cardiovascular patients, Houser said. Using the database, Califf created models to allow clinicians to predict both the presence and severity of coronary artery disease.
“Dr. Califf’s research teams’ and collaborators’ findings have not only made innumerable contributions to our understanding of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndromes, they have directly and meaningfully impacted the way patients with cardiovascular disease are managed, resulting in practice-changing therapies,” Houser said. He noted that numerous American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines are based on results of this research.