Jeffrey R. Balser, MD, is a member of FierceHealthcare's Editorial Advisory Council. He is President and CEO of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Dr. Balser is leading VUMC through a period of marked service-volume and facilities growth, including a 30% expansion of the children’s and adult inpatient facilities to over 1400 beds, and the Southeastern region’s largest and most comprehensive provider-led health network (over 60 hospitals and 5000 clinicians across 5 states: Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network). Effective in May, 2016, in coordination with Vanderbilt University, he led VUMC through an historic restructuring process involving a $1.2B public debt issuance, placing its 3000 clinicians, 4 hospitals, 140+ outpatient clinic facilities, and its extensive research and graduate medical education programs into a financially and legally separate not-for-profit corporation with 23,000 employees and annual revenues exceeding $4.3B (fiscal 2019).
He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1995, where he practiced cardiac anesthesiology, ICU medicine, and led a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research program aimed at the genetic causes of life-threatening cardiac rhythm disorders. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1998 as Associate Dean for Physician Scientist Development, and soon was appointed Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, directing one of the Medical Center’s largest clinical service programs. He became the medical center’s chief research officer in 2004, leading a period of scientific expansion that moved the School of Medicine into the nation’s top 10 in NIH funding. Under his leadership, the medical center developed an institution-wide focus on personalized medicine through large-scale initiatives in health information technology and precision genomics, culminating in 2016 with the National Institutes of Health awarding its Data and Research Support Center for the US Precision Medicine Initiative to VUMC.
In 2008 Dr. Balser was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and later that year was named the eleventh dean of the School of Medicine since its founding in 1875. In 2009, he was also appointed Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs with executive responsibility for all health-related programs including the hospitals, clinics, research programs, and the medical and nursing schools. In 2013-2014 in response to nationwide declines in healthcare revenue, he led a system-wide 8% ($230 million) cost reduction across all mission areas, improving VUMC’s competitive position in a rapidly evolving price-sensitive marketplace.
As the medical center’s first President and CEO, he is a voting member of VUMC’s self-perpetuating 11-member board. Dr. Balser also serves on the governing council of the National Academy of Medicine, the board of Tulane University, and the board of Varian Medical Systems (VAR). He received a B.S. in Engineering from Tulane University in 1984, an M.D. and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in 1990, and completed residency training in anesthesiology and fellowship training in both cardiac anesthesiology and critical care medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.