Jefferson Appoints Assistant Dean for Clinical Research

Philadelphia, PA — Highlighting the importance of clinical research in academic health care, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University (Jefferson) appointed David J. Whellan, M.D., M.H.S. to the newly created position of Assistant Dean for Clinical Research. Dr. Whellan will be responsible for advancing Jefferson’s research mission by promoting clinical research, supporting faculty’s research efforts in their respective clinical fields and integrating clinical research into the overall strategy for Jefferson. In his capacity as Assistant Dean, Dr. Whellan will report to Leonard Freedman, Ph.D., Vice Dean of Research, and work closely with other senior leaders in Jefferson Medical College to increase the translation of Jefferson basic science discoveries into clinical studies that can lead to improvements in the health of Jefferson patients. In recognition of his outstanding efforts in clinical research, Dr. Whellan will also become the James C. Wilson Associate Professor of Medicine.

Dr. WhellanDr. Whellan will remain the Director of the Jefferson Coordinating Center for Clinical Research that was established in 2011. The center provides clinical trial services to Jefferson faculty, develops and implements investigator initiated studies, assists in the dissemination of research results through publications and presentations, and trains Jefferson students and house staff in clinical research methods. In addition to these internal efforts, the coordinating center supports and manages the East Coast Research Network, a regional network of over 60 physicians that participates in clinical trials, many of which are initiated by Jefferson faculty.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Whellan’s stature and national visibility to provide leadership at Jefferson in the mission-critical clinical trials arena, and this will enhance our efforts across diverse clinical disciplines,” said Mark Tykocinski, M.D., Dean, Jefferson Medical College.

Dr. Whellan is a recognized leader in heart failure research and clinical trial design. As one of the principal investigators of the HF-ACTION study, a $37 million National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI)-funded clinical trial investigating the effect of exercise training in patients with heart failure, Dr. Whellan designed, implemented and shared responsibility for the daily operation of the protocol. He was the national principal investigator for the PARTNERS-HF study, which investigated the capacity of diagnostics from implantable devices to predict clinical heart failure events. In addition, he has served on the executive committee of the MVP Trial and on the steering committee for the ASCEND and TRACER-ACS trials. During his fellowship and earlier faculty appointment, Dr. Whellan worked at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). His work at the DCRI and Jefferson has focused on treatments and outcomes for heart failure patients and identification of better care strategies for these patients.

Dr. Whellan is leading the Jefferson Regional Clinical Center in the NHLBI’s Heart Failure Network as the principal investigator, along with Drs. Paul Mather, Sharon Rubin, Raphael Bonita and Geoff Mills at Jefferson; Dr. Alfred Bove at Temple University; and Dr. Mitchell Saltzberg at Christiana Care Health System. Jefferson was selected in November 2011 as one of nine centers in this network from across the nation. The Heart Failure Network will provide support to develop, coordinate, and conduct multiple collaborative randomized clinical trials (RCTs) to improve HF outcomes.

Dr. Whellan earned his a bachelor of science degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, his doctor of medicine degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his master of health science in clinical research from Duke University. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, as well as a member of the Heart Failure Society of America. He has published over 100 manuscripts and book chapters. Dr. Whellan serves as an associate editor of the American Heart Journal.

About Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University, (TJU), the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia, is nationally renowned for medical and health sciences education and innovative research. Founded in 1824, TJU includes Jefferson Medical College (JMC), one of the largest private medical schools in the country and ranked among the nation's best medical schools by U.S. News & World Report, and the Jefferson Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions, Population Health and the College of Graduate Studies. Jefferson University Physicians is TJU's multi-specialty physician practice consisting of the full-time faculty of JMC. Thomas Jefferson University partners with its clinical affiliate, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

For more information, contact: Jennifer McGowan Smith, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals, 211 South 9th Street, Suite 310, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 955-5507, (215) 955-5008 fax, or email jennifer.mcgowansmith@jefferson.edu.

Published: 03-23-2012

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