Category Archives: Personnel

Jeffrey Drazen, M.D.

Formal HMS Background 2011 - Web

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.

Helen M. Shields, M.D.

portraitDr. Helen Shields received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts and her medical degree from Tufts University Medical School. She completed her internship and first year residency in internal medicine at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a Senior Resident and then Chief Resident in Medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Shields next completed her fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was recruited to the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine in Washington University and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis from 1977 to 1983. Dr. Shields was than recruited to the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School in February, 1983. In 2010, Dr. Shields was promoted to Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first faculty member at Harvard Medical School to be promoted to Full Professor on the Teaching and Educational Leadership Track and the first woman in the field of Gastroenterology at Harvard Medical School to reach Full Professor.

In January 2013, Dr. Shields moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be Associate Chief of the Division of Medical Communications and Senior Physician in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy. Both Divisions are in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Shields is Associate Master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, one of the five Harvard Medical School Student Societies. She has served as Director for the past eighteen years of the Second-Year Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology Course at Harvard Medical School. Helen Shields has won multiple teaching awards including the Harvard Medical School Prize for Excellence in Teaching in both 1999 and 2008, the S. Robert Stone Award for Excellence in Teaching and Clinical Medicine in 2003, and the Best Pre-Clinical Instructor Award at Harvard Medical School from the Graduating Classes of 2004 and 2007.

Dr. Shields is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Gastroenterological Association. Dr. Shields was elected in January 2010 as the American Gastroenterological Association’s Councilor for Education and Training, a Governing Board position. In May 2011, she was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award by the American Gastroenterological Association.

The Johns Hopkins University Press published Dr. Shields’ single author book on successful teaching entitled “A Medical Teacher’s Manual for Success” in 2011.

Dr. Shields’ primary teaching interests focus on an innovative faculty development program that uses key Harvard Business School teaching strategies in case-based tutorials and a faculty development program that trains teachers in cross-cultural care. She is a member of the Cross-Cultural Care Committee at Harvard Medical School.

2014 Publications:

  • Shields HM, Stoffel EM, Chung DC, Sequist TD, Li JW, Pelletier SR, Spencer J, Silk JM, Austin BL, Diguette S, Furbish JE, Lederman R, Weingart SN. Disparities in evaluation of patients with rectal bleeding 40 years and older. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014; 12:669-675.
  • Drazen JM, Shields HM, Loscalzo J. A Division of Medical Communications in an academic medical center’s Department of Medicine. 2014 Acad Med; 89: 1623-1629.

Utkan Demirci, Ph.D.

Utkan DemirciDr. Utkan Demirci received his bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, his master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering in 2001 and in Management Science and Engineering in 2005, and his doctorate in Electrical Engineering in 2005 all from Stanford University. In 2007, he was recruited to the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School to serve as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Demirci also served at the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2013, Dr. Demirci was promoted to Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Demirci has been recognized by various awards including NSF CAREER Award, IEEE EMBS Early Career Achievement Award, IEEE EMBS Translational Science Award as well as the Chinese International Young Scientist Award by the National Science Foundation of China. He was recognized by Junior Chamber International (JCI) globally among the ten outstanding young persons of the world (TOYP) in “Medical Innovation” in 2009. In 2008, he was given Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School-Young Investigator Award. In 2006, the MIT Technology Review selected Dr. Demirci to TR-35 as one of the world’s top 35 young innovators under the age of 35. Furthermore, Dr. Demirci received the Coulter Foundation Early Career Award in Biotechnology (Phase I in 2007, and Phase II in 2009); Nano-Biotechnology Award by The National Science Council of Turkey and The Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association; CIMIT Award; MIT Deshpande Center Award. Dr. Demirci has successfully created two start-up companies over the past 3 years that use technologies developed in his laboratory.

Dr. Demirci has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal publications in journals including Nature Communications, PNAS, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Nano Today, Biomaterials, Lab-chip, Nanomedicine, and advanced materials, in addition to 130 conference abstracts and proceedings, 14 book chapters, and 4 edited books. Further, he has given over 100 national and international presentations including invited and keynote at various academic, governmental, and industrial institutions. During the past 2 years, his research has been cited over 1600 times. His work has been highlighted in Nature News, Wired Magazine, Nature Photonics, Reuters News, MIT Technology Review Magazine, AIP News, BioTechniques, and Biophotonics. He has served multiple times as an associate editor and a theme chair for various conferences including IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS) and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

Dr. Demirci’s laboratory has a strong and scholarly track record of multiple creative innovations. His work focuses on creating innovative micro/nanoscale technologies to understand, diagnose, monitor, and treat disease conditions. His expertise is uniquely positioned at the interface between engineering and medicine to address fundamental biological and clinical questions. In this interdisciplinary space at the convergence of engineering, biology, medicine, his work interfaces cells in miniature systems that enable applications for point-of-care (POC) diagnosis, monitoring of infectious diseases, and early detection of cancer. These applications are unified around his expertise to push the limits of cell manipulation by establishing broadly applicable platforms to detect and investigate diseases thoroughly and provide solutions for real-world challenges by forging the link between technology, biology, and medicine.

Nancy Berliner, M.D.

Nancy Berliner

Dr. Berliner is Chief of Hematology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She received her medical degree from Yale Medical School, and obtained training as a Resident in Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine Chief Resident, and Hematology Fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. She then spent 20 years on the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine, where she rose through the ranks to Professor of Internal Medicine and Genetics. She has broad clinical interests in both classical hematology and hematologic malignancies. Her research is focused on the regulation of neutrophil-specific gene expression and its disruption in myelodysplasia and acute leukemia, and on the pathogenesis of anemia in the elderly. She has served on the Editorial Boards of Blood, the European Journal of Hematology, and the American Journal of Hematology. She received the Stohlman Prize from the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society of America. She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Clinical and Climatological Society, and the Interurban Clinical Club, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American College of Physicians. She was President of the American Society of Hematology in 2009. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2011.

Dr. Berliner is the author of more than 70 original articles and editor and author of more than 70 chapters and text books on hematology. She has had grant funding from the NIH for over 25 years, as well as grants from the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is a former Stohlman Scholar of the Leukemia Society. She has served on Study sections for the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and for NHLBI and NIDDK. She served on the Board of Scientific Counselors at NHLBI for five years, and is currently on the NHLBI Board of External Experts.

Niraj Sharma, M.D., M.P.H.

Niraj Sharma, M.D., M.P.H.

My Area of Excellence is in Clinical Expertise and Innovation with a focus on the transition of youth with special health care needs from pediatric to adult-centered medical care. In my outpatient clinic and on the inpatient services at BWH and BCH, I care for many young adults with diseases originating in childhood who present as complicated cases. I am often asked to assist in the transition process to find adult medical homes for these patients.

My work in transition has led to several successful grant awards including one to investigate the transition of patients with perinatally-acquired HIV that was ultimately published. I founded the BWH/BCH Transition Working Group where physicians and other caregivers meet monthly to share works in progress, research, and clinical programs related to transition care. I also developed the BWH/BCH Crossover Curriculum, where faculty members from each institution lead conferences at the other hospital on internal medicine and pediatric topics relevant to transition care. I served as the Co-Site Director and Cabinet Member of the “Got Transition” National Learning Collaborative, funded by HRSA/MCHB to develop and test transition protocols for patients and practices.

On the innovation side, I helped found Brigham and Women’s Family Care Associates, a new primary care practice that serves as the teaching site for residents and faculty in the BWH/BCH Internal Medicine-Pediatrics (Med-Peds) Residency Program. A major focus is providing transition services to young adults.

I serve as the Associate Director of the Weitzman Family Bridges Adult Transition Program at BCH. I co-direct an effort to establish a young adult unit and consult service. These clinical services provide age-appropriate care and transition services for adult patients. This program has already been presented at one national conference and we are measuring the long-term impact of the program.

Finally, I am leading an effort with the Partners Healthcare Integrated Care Management Program to develop transition processes across the Partners System. This innovative pilot program will provide pediatric practices with tools and care coordination support to improve transition and transfer to adult care.

My work has garnered national attention. I have given regional, national, and international lectures on the subject. Our group has also published several manuscripts. One published in Academic Pediatrics made recommendations for future work in transition care in the areas of education, health policy, and outcomes research.

I have a significant supporting activity in medical education. I have been a Program Director of Med-Peds Residency Programs since 2001, most recently at Harvard BWH/BCH since 2007. In this position, I have developed novel curricula that have been presented nationally, mentored many residents, and received teaching awards. I have also held leadership positions in MPPDA, APDIM, and AAIM. In these roles, I have been able to work with the ACGME to assist Med-Peds Programs to be accredited for the first time. I have also spent considerable time on influencing Graduate Medical Education Policy at the federal level, including leading the successful effort to include Med-Peds Programs in the definition of Primary Care for HRSA Title VII Funding Grants.

Simon Helfgott, M.D.

Simon Helfgott, M.D.

A native of Montreal, Dr. Simon Helfgott is a graduate of the McGill University Faculty of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and began his Fellowship training in Rheumatology at the Montreal General Hospital. In 1981 he was awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada Fellowship to begin a fellowship in Rheumatology and Immunology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1986 and has remained an active member ever since.

Dr. Helfgott is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard in both the Division of Rheumatology and the Division of Medical Communications at BWH. His medical education roles include serving as the Director of Education and Fellowship Training for the Division of Rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s, the largest academic rheumatology program in North America. At HMS he is the co-director of the rheumatology teaching block in Year II and a regular lecturer in the HST program as well. He is a member of the HMS Curriculum Committee, responsible for designing a new curriculum beginning with the Class of 2015 and a member of, The Academy at HMS.

In addition, Dr. Helfgott has been involved in several other teaching activities include serving as co-director of the Brigham Rheumatology Board Review Course and section editor for Rheumatology NEJM Knowledge+. Since 2012 he has been the physician editor of The Rheumatologist, an official monthly publication of the American College of Rheumatology with both a national and international audience.

James A. Colbert, M.D.

James_ColbertDr. James Colbert is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Division of Medical Communications at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Colbert practices general internal medicine as a hospitalist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts.

Dr. Colbert received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. During the 2012-2013 academic year, he served as an editorial fellow at the New England Journal of Medicine. In 2014 he served as a scholar for the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in the Health Professions, and since 2014 he has served as a workgroup leader and researcher for the Brookings Institution’s ACO Learning Network.

Dr. Colbert is currently the Web Editor for JAMA Internal Medicine. He is also a member of the Society of General Internal Medicine, serving on the society’s ethics committee; and he is a member of the American College of Physicians and the Society of Hospital Medicine. His academic interests focus on innovation in medical education and health delivery, especially with regards to use of novel technologies in health care. His scholarly work has been presented at national conferences and has been published in numerous journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Accountable Care.

Current scholarly projects include the following: an exploration of the ethical issues surrounding online sharing of health information and patient-physician online communication; development and assessment of novel team-learning strategies for teaching medical students and residents; and an analysis of the role of advanced primary care in building and sustaining successful ACOs.

Christopher P. Cannon, M.D.

Christopher P. Cannon, M.D.
Executive Director, Cardiometabolic Trials, Harvard Clinical Research Institute
Senior Physician, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Cannon is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and senior physician in the Cardiovascular Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He earned his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and did internal medicine residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and cardiovascular fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Cannon has published over 1000 original articles, reviews, or electronic publications in the field of acute coronary syndromes and prevention and has authored or edited 17 books. He recently completed a term as editor-in-chief of American College of Cardiology’s website, He has received numerous awards, including leadership awards from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

He has been principal investigator of more than 15 multicenter clinical trials, including TACTICS-TIMI 18 and PROVE IT. While completing work on three trials of lipid-modifying strategies, such as IMPROVE IT, Dr. Cannon now serves as Executive Director of Cardiometabolic Trials at the Harvard Clinical Research Institute (HCRI). He is leading the RE-DUAL PCI trial, studying novel anticoagulant strategies in patients with atrial fibrillation undergoing stenting, and collaborates on many other trials and registry projects in the fields of acute coronary syndromes, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, lipids and prevention.

Elliot Israel, M.D.

Elliot_IsraelDr. Elliot Israel is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He is Director of Clinical Research in the Pulmonary Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Israel received his medical degree and completed his internship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. After completing his residency at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical College in New York City, he obtained clinical and research fellowships in both Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Allergy and Immunology from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He was honored with the Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator Award by Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Israel’s major research interests include mediators of airway reactivity, biomarkers of asthma, therapeutic interventions to improve asthma outcomes, pharmacogenomics, and approaches to understanding and minimizing disparities in asthma morbidity. He has several grants from the National Institutes of Health to study asthma, severe asthma, and leads one of 8 sites throughout the country supported by the NIH to conduct research into better asthma treatments. He is interested in disparities in asthma outcomes among minority and disadvantaged populations. He has conducted, and is conducting, studies in African Americans with asthma. These studies have involved investigating genetic determinants of differentiated responses to medications and the effectiveness of individualized therapeutic approaches in this population. He was named one of Boston’s best in Pulmonary Medicine by Boston Magazine. He has authored or coauthored more than 125 articles, reviews, and abstracts in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and The Lancet.