2017 Petit Institute Distinguished Lecture

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"Primary Stroke Prevention in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia Living in Africa: The False Choice between Patient Oriented Research and Humanitarian Service"

Michael R. DeBaun, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
JC Peterson Endowed Chair in Pediatrics
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Dr. DeBaun was born in 1960 in St. Louis, Missouri and attended Howard University for his college education where he graduated magna cum laude (chemistry) and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Stanford University Medical School receiving his Medical Doctorate and Masters in Health Services Research. After completing his pediatric residency and fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, he attended Johns Hopkins School of Public Health where he received his MPH and completed an epidemiology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He was a Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis before he was recruited to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2010 to become the Founding Director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease. The Center is one of the first in the country to establish a medical home model of care for children and adults with sickle cell disease in a community health center. Dr. DeBaun is an internationally recognized physician–scientist whose advocacy and research has resulted in fundamental advances in sickle cell disease. Dr. DeBaun was the primary physician author of the Sickle Cell Treatment Act, signed by President Bush into law on Oct. 22, 2004 Title VII, providing regional networks for enhanced services for children and adults with sickle cell disease. For over 20 years, his efforts in sickle cell disease have focused on epidemiology, cognitive impact, clinical significance and strategies for preventing strokes and silent strokes in children with sickle cell anemia. He has been the leader of multiple clinical trials to prevent strokes in children with sickle cell disease in North America, Europe and Africa. In his clinical research laboratory Dr. DeBaun has mentored 9 medical students who received competitive funding for 1 year intensive research fellowships, 14 postdoctoral physician fellows, and sponsored or co-sponsored 10 physician scientists who received mentored faculty awards (K12, KL2, K23 or equivalent). He directed several mentoring programs including the Doris Duke Medical Student Fellowship Program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; The Ferring Scholars High School Mentoring Program at Washington University School of Medicine; American Society of Hematology, Clinical Research Training Institute for fellows and faculty; and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for fellows and faculty participating in the stroke prevention trials in Nigeria. Dr. DeBaun is an elected member of several professional organizations, including the National Academy of Medicine (formally Institute of Medicine), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a recipient of two international awards, 2014 Ernest Beutler Prize and Lecture in Clinical Science from the American Society of Hematology, and the 2017 Maureen Sanger Award for Mentoring from the Society of Pediatric Research. Dr. DeBaun has been married, to his best friend Sandra, for 30 years, and together they have two children, Malcolm and Morgan.

Dr. DeBaun has received numerous awards for his research efforts including election to the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Community lunch to follow.

The Parker H. Petit Distinguished Lecture Series is held each fall at the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. The Distinguished Lecture Series brings nationally and internationally recognized bioengineering and bioscience leaders to the Petit Institute community to give their perspective on the future of biotechnology.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Colly Mitchell
  • Created: 04/26/2017
  • Modified By: Colly Mitchell
  • Modified: 09/22/2017


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