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George (Rick) Stouffer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology, has been awarded the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the department of medicine. The professorship honors Dr. Ernest Craige who was the first chief of the Division of Cardiology at the UNC School of Medicine and served from 1952 – 1978. As an enduring tribute, his wife Hazel, with the generous support of Chip McAllister, established the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. George (Rick) Stouffer

“Building on Dr. Craige’s pioneering foundation, Dr. Stouffer is developing an outstanding clinical research program that strives to understand the causes for and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Ron Falk, chair of the department of medicine. “His compassion for patients and dedication to training new generations makes this appointment especially well deserved.”

Stouffer’s clinical interests include general cardiology as well as coronary and peripheral artery interventions. His basic science research is focused on the role of integrins in smooth muscle cell growth regulation. Clinical research interests include hemodynamics, valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, renal artery stenosis, acute coronary syndromes and using genotyping to guide anti-platelet therapy.

Last year, Stouffer was appointed co-director of the McAllister Heart Institute–with Dr. Victoria Bautch Chair of the Department of Biology and Beverly Long Chapin Distinguished Professor– to more closely link basic science and translational science with clinical cardiology to advance biological discoveries into clinical care.

“I am honored to serve as the Ernest and Hazel Craige Distinguished Professor of Medicine, continuing the tradition of excellence in cardiovascular care at UNC that was started by Ernie Craige.”

Recent research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Cardiovascular Interventions and in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicinedemonstrates that using a simple genetic test leads to better outcomes in patients receiving intracoronary stents. Stouffer has also been the senior investigator on several studies looking at outcomes in patients who have heart attacks while hospitalized for a non-cardiac condition. These studies have been published in JAMA, Nature Reviews Cardiology, JAMA-Cardiology, and the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stouffer received his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1987. He completed his residency at the University of Virginia in 1990, followed by fellowships in cardiology and interventional cardiology. He joined the faculty at UNC in 2000 after spending 5 years at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Distinguished professorships recognize both exceptional achievement and the potential for future achievement. The awards would not be possible without the generosity of donors who invest in the mission of the UNC department of medicine and the patients it serves.