Duke Forge Director Robert Califf to Transition to Alphabet

September 30, 2019

Duke Forge Director Robert M. Califf, MD, will be stepping down from his leadership roles at Duke University in November to accept a full-time position as Head of Strategy and Policy for Verily Life Sciences and Google Health, divisions of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Dr. Califf has deep roots at Duke, where he first arrived as a student 50 years ago. A graduate of Duke University and Duke Medical School, he returned to the university for a cardiology fellowship after completing a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As a Duke faculty cardiologist and clinical investigator, he helped create the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), which would grow into the nation’s largest academic clinical research organization under Califf’s leadership.

A nationally and internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, healthcare quality, and clinical research, Dr. Califf has led many landmark clinical trials and is one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science. In 2015, he was tapped to serve at the US Food and Drug Administration in President Obama’s administration, first as Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco from 2015-2016, and then as Commissioner of Food and Drugs from 2016-2017. Upon concluding his term as Commissioner, Dr. Califf returned to Duke to establish Duke Forge as the University’s new center for actionable health data science.

“Duke University has an incredibly bright future, and I am proud to always call it home.”

 – Robert M. Califf, MD

In a blog post announcing the creation of Duke Forge, Dr. Califf wrote, “We chose a name that would capture the essence of what we’re working to build at the center: an environment where disparate structures and data streams can be welded together in ways that both motivate and inform efforts to improve health across the biomedical spectrum—from bench science to population health.”

Dr. Califf will remain on faculty at Duke University as an adjunct professor in the Duke University School of Medicine.

In a letter sent to all Duke faculty and staff by Chancellor for Health Affairs Eugene Washington, MD, and School of Medicine Dean Mary E. Klotman, MD, Dr. Califf was quoted as noting that “Duke University has an incredibly bright future, and I am proud to always call it home.”