Born and raised in Clayton, Missouri, Dr. Drazen majored in applied physics at Tufts University and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1972. He served his medical internship and residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and was a clinical fellow and a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. Thereafter, he served as chief of Pulmonary Medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital, chief of the combined Pulmonary Divisions of the Beth Israel and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, and then as chief of Pulmonary Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Drazen currently holds the positions of senior physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Distinguished Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, professor of physiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and adjunct professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from the University of Ferrara and the University of Athens.
Dr. Drazen has worked with the National Institutes of Health in a variety of capacities, including its Respiratory and Applied Physiology Study Section, Pulmonary Disease Advisory Council, Lung Biology and Pathology Study Section, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Advisory Council and the National Library of Medicine Public Access Working Group. He has also served on the Veterans’ Administration National Research Advisory Council.
Dr. Drazen is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Inter-Urban Clinical Club and the Institute of Medicine. He currently co-chairs the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and is a member of the World Health Organization’s Scientific Advisory Group on Clinical Trials Registration.
An active researcher in the field of pulmonary medicine, Dr. Drazen defined the role of novel endogenous chemical agents in asthma. This led to four new licensed pharmaceuticals for asthma, now used in the treatment of millions of people worldwide.
He has published over 500 papers, editorials and review articles and has edited six books, including Cecil Medicine and Asthma and COPD.
Dr. Drazen has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, including the Journal of Applied Physiology, the American Journal of Physiology, Pulmonary Pharmacology, Experimental Lung Research, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, and the American Journal of Medicine. In addition, he has been an associate editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the American Review of Respiratory Disease.
In 2000, he assumed the post of editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. During his tenure, the Journal has published major papers advancing the science of medicine, including the first descriptions of SARS and modifications in the treatment of cancer, heart disease and lung disease, and it has been at the forefront of the worldwide effort to register all clinical trials. The Journal, which has over a million readers every week, has the highest impact factor of any journal publishing original research.