A Dean for Medicine


Coming home: cardiologist Williams back to lead the medical school.

Sanders “Sandy” Williams M.D. ’74 has been named dean of Duke’s School of Medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Duke Medical Center, effective July 1. Currently, Williams is chief of the division of cardiology and director of the Rayburn Center for Molecular Cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
“I am delighted to have Dr. Williams return to Duke to assume this critical leadership position. He is one of the rare outstanding ‘triple threats’ in academic medicine. Sandy is an internationally recognized research cardiologist, a highly regarded clinician, and an excellent teacher,” says Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs.

The selection of Williams comes after a national search, following the departure of Dean Edward Holmes last September. Holmes is now vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the medical school at the University of California, San Diego.
Williams earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1970. After receiving his medical degree from Duke, he completed a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and then a cardiology research fellowship at Duke. He joined Duke’s faculty in 1980 as an assistant professor of medicine, physiology, and cell biology. After a 1984-1985 stint as visiting professor in the biochemistry department at Oxford University, he returned to Duke and in 1986 became an associate professor of medicine and microbiology.
In 1990, Williams left for a position as professor of internal medicine, biochemistry, and molecular biology, and chief of cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In 1995 and 1996, he was a visiting scientist at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Last year, he helped develop the Center for Biomedical Invention (CBI), which develops new devices, drugs, and procedures to improve prevention or therapy for heart disease and can be transferred to pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies for further development and application. He also led the Dallas Heart Disease Prevention Project, an innovative program of research in the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease.
Williams has won numerous awards for his research and teaching in cardiovascular disease. In 2000, Duke’s School of Medicine presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has more than 150 medical and scientific publications and holds five patents for his work.

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