Yale alumna Dr. Nancy Brown named dean of Yale School of Medicine

A renowned clinician and investigator and a Yale College graduate, Brown returns to Yale from Vanderbilt University. She will take up her post on Feb. 1.
Dr. Nancy Brown
Dr. Nancy Brown

Dr. Nancy J. Brown, a dedicated teacher and internationally renowned investigator and clinician, has been named the next dean of Yale School of Medicine (YSM), President Peter Salovey has announced.

A Yale College graduate, Brown is currently the Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. She will take up her Yale post on Feb. 1, pending the approval of the board of trustees.

Professor Brown understands how to foster excellence in education, conduct breakthrough research, and provide exemplary clinical care to patients,” said Salovey in an email on Sept. 12 announcing the appointment. “Her career and accomplishments are founded on a steadfast commitment to supporting her colleagues and students. At Vanderbilt, she has created an environment where all can learn, contribute, and succeed.”

I am grateful to the search advisory committee and President Salovey for this opportunity,” said Brown. “Dean Alpern has already been very generous in ensuring a smooth transition. I very much look forward to meeting with and learning from the members of the YSM and broader Yale and New Haven communities as we chart our course.”

Brown majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale and earned her medical degree at Harvard University. After completing internship and residency programs at Vanderbilt University, she joined its faculty and has played vital roles in clinical care and research.

While taking on increased leadership responsibilities and mentoring scores of Vanderbilt students, residents, and fellows, Brown has led a dynamic research program in cardiovascular pharmacology, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1993. Among her research contributions, she has defined the molecular mechanisms through which commonly prescribed blood pressure and diabetes drugs affect the risk of cardiovascular and kidney disease. She has continued to care for patients, especially those with resistant and secondary forms of hypertension, and to mentor the next generation of physicians in the clinic.

Since becoming leader of Vanderbilt’s Department of Medicine in 2010, Brown has worked to help faculty, students, and trainees thrive. She expanded mentorship resources for trainees and faculty members who concentrate on research and established a career development program for faculty members who focus on clinical work. During her tenure, there was an increase in the number of women and members of underrepresented groups in medicine, both on the faculty and in leadership positions.

Thanks to the work of the section leaders and faculty members that Brown recruited, overall research funding in the department increased by 56%, and grant funding from the National Institutes of Health went up by 47%. The impact of the department’s research grew, as measured by citations, and faculty members received increased recognition by organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Medicine. The clinical enterprise also surged, with outpatient visits growing 59% and admissions 25%.

Throughout her career, Brown has focused on medical education and mentoring career development. She founded and directed the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program nearly 20 years ago to promote the advancement of patient-oriented researchers. She also developed the Elliot Newman Society to shorten time-to-independence for physician-scientists. She is an elected member of the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Teaching and has received many mentorship awards.

Brown serves on a number of editorial boards and national and international scientific advisory committees, providing guidance on the development of research programs and educational initiatives. She has received numerous awards for her achievements, including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Salovey thanked the members of the search advisory committee, chaired by Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley, for their extensive engagement with medical school faculty, students, staff, and alumni, as well as members of the broader university community. “In fourteen listening sessions and numerous informal meetings, they carefully collected feedback, suggestions, and viewpoints about the current state and future of the school,” said Salovey. “To all those who took the time to write or speak with me and the committee, thank you for your invaluable contributions to the search process.”

The president also expressed “heartfelt appreciation” to Robert Alpern, dean of the School of Medicine since 2004, “for positioning YSM as one of the world’s preeminent medical schools.” He added: “Professor Brown values all that Dean Alpern has done to realize YSM’s mission and will build on his work to advance the scientific, clinical, and educational excellence of the school.”

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-980-2222