DCRI Welcomes New Executive Director

May 6, 2020 – A cardiologist and internationally recognized clinical research expert will become the Institute’s new leader.

After a nationwide search for a new leader for the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Duke University School of Medicine announced today it has named an executive director for the Institute.

Adrian Hernandez, MD, MHSAdrian Hernandez, MD, MHS, a cardiologist and internationally recognized clinical research expert, will step into the role effective May 15. Hernandez, who has served as the Vice Dean for Clinical Research for the Duke University School of Medicine since 2017, will also maintain some responsibilities of this role as he continues to guide clinical research strategy for the School.

Hernandez has a long history with the DCRI, having joined as a cardiology fellow in 2002. “I learned the power of evidence, the importance of teams, and about the unmet needs of people with everyday health challenges,” Hernandez said while reflecting on the beginnings of his DCRI career. “This early experience continues to shape my vision and thinking today. Simply put, it’s great to be back home.”

Hernandez outlined parts of his vision for the DCRI’s future in creating and implementing new models for conducting clinical research. “Our value will be realized through more efficient studies and in creating new pathways for innovative health solutions and groundbreaking research,” he said. “The future of our work will emphasize programs that are large, leveraged, and embedded within health systems or the daily lives of people. We will practice new methods that enable research at home that is frictionless, flexible, and even fun. To accomplish this, we will continue to leverage the many strengths across Duke and the School of Medicine to innovate locally and scale globally.”

Lesley Curtis, PhD, will transition out of her Interim Executive Director role and resume her full-time work as Chair and Professor of Duke’s Department of Population Health Sciences. She will also remain an active DCRI faculty member through her leadership of the DCRI Think Tanks program and her work with the NIH Collaboratory, PCORnet, and other joint research projects between the DCRI and Population Health.

“Leading the DCRI has been a rewarding journey in so many ways, and together we have made terrific progress,” Curtis said. “I remain committed to the DCRI mission and its ongoing success. I am also delighted to hand over the reins to someone who is a leading clinical researcher, a close colleague, and a substantial contributor to the DCRI for many years.”