Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D., Ph.D.
B.S. Engineering, Tulane University, 1984; M.D./Ph.D. (pharmacology), Vanderbilt University, 1990.
As the medical center’s chief executive since 2009, Dr. Balser has guided extensive clinical service and facilities growth, expanding patient visits to over 2.5 million per year and annual revenues to over $5 billion (fiscal 2021). VUMC now supports the nation’s largest cardiac transplantation program, the Mid-South’s largest NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, and the Southeast’s largest provider-led health affiliated network with over 60 hospitals and 6000 clinicians. Since 2004 he has led a broad scientific expansion at VUMC, launching programs integrating health informatics, personalized medicine, and precision genomics. In 2016 the NIH awarded the Data and Research Support Center for the US Precision Medicine “All of Us” Program to VUMC.
In 2016 Dr. Balser guided an historic restructuring process with Vanderbilt University, legally and financially separating VUMC through a $1.2B public debt issuance, forming an independent, not-for profit corporation that maintains a strong academic affiliation with the university. VUMC now comprises over 27,000 employees, five hospitals with over 1400 inpatient beds, the largest employed medical practice in the mid-South with over 3000 clinicians, over 150 outpatient facilities, one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 1100 residents and fellows in advanced clinical training, and extensive NIH and industry-sponsored research programs. As President and CEO, Dr. Balser reports to a self-perpetuating 11-member board of directors.
Dr. Balser was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 2008, and since 2018 has been a member of the organization’s governing council. He serves as chair for the both the 2020 and 2021, 50th year anniversary scientific sessions, and is co-chairing the academy’s sector review on healthcare delivery organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. He serves on the boards of VUMC, Tulane University, the Center for Medical Interoperability, the Nashville Healthcare Council, and the public company Varian Medical Systems where he serves on the compensation and nomination/governance committees.
Dr. Balser undertook internship on the Osler Medical Service, residency training in anesthesiology, and fellowship training in cardiac anesthesiology and in critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995, where he practiced cardiac anesthesiology, ICU medicine, and led an NIH-funded research program aimed at the genomic underpinnings of cardiac rhythm disorders. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1998, was appointed chair of the Department of Anesthesiology in 2001, and became VUMC’s chief research officer in 2004. In 2008/09, he was named Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Health affairs with executive responsibility for Vanderbilt’s health and biomedical science-related educational, research, and clinical and administrative programs.