Dr. Mercedes Carnethon

Feinberg School of Medicine Announces Dr. Mercedes Carnethon as New Preventive Medicine Department Chair

Dr. Mercedes Carnethon
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Feinberg School of Medicine Announces Dr. Mercedes Carnethon as New Preventive Medicine Department Chair

09 Apr, 2024

Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, vice chair and Mary Harris Thompson Professor of Preventive Medicine and chair of the Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure Committee at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been named chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, effective September 1.

“I am extremely pleased and grateful to be entrusted with leading the Department of Preventive Medicine—a place that has been my academic and professional home for two decades,” said Carnethon. “Our Department is first in its class in elucidating the multiple complex causes of morbidity and mortality in the population. It is not an exaggeration to say that I am standing on the shoulders of giants who led the Department for over 50 years. The former chairs, other senior leaders and Dean Neilson have invested substantially in my growth as a scholar, mentor and leader, and I am pleased to return that investment by continuing the positive trajectory of our outstanding department.”

An internationally recognized leader in the epidemiology of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, Carnethon’s research studies the behavioral, social and biological underpinnings of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and around the world. She and her collaborators have described the burden of these conditions in population subgroups defined by race, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation and gender identity, and socioeconomic position.

Carnethon has demonstrated a commitment to Feinberg and the Northwestern University community since joining the faculty in 2002, particularly in the domains of mentoring and faculty development. Outside the institution, she is the Board Chair for the Chicago Metropolitan Board of the American Heart Association and the incoming Chair of the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. She has served on the board of scientific counselors for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since 2021, and is an associate editor of the journal Circulation. She has authored or co-authored more than 395 peer-reviewed scientific publications in leading scientific journals including CirculationJAMAJAMA Cardiology, Diabetes Care and Lancet Public Health. Carnethon also serves as the PI or MPI of numerous NIH grants and her research has been disseminated widely through national and international media outlets. She is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the American Heart Association.

“There is no one better suited to lead the Department of Preventive Medicine than Mercedes,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. “She is a remarkable scientist, exceptionally accomplished in epidemiology and cardiovascular disease research, and a proven leader, respected mentor, and role model who will guide the department through its next great scientific era. I am also very grateful to Rinad Beidas, PhD, and her search committee for the wonderful job in completing the search amidst such a strong pool of candidates.”

“I am absolutely delighted that Mercedes, a tremendously talented scientist and fabulous mentor and collaborative leader, will lead the department,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, the current chair and Eileen M. Foell Professor of Preventive Medicine. “She is the kind of person, the kind of leader, who makes her collaborators and her fellow faculty members better because of her deep knowledge about the science of population health and about recruiting cohorts of diverse individuals. She is also an exemplar at developing young investigators.  Feinberg’s decades-long legacy of leadership in preventive medicine is in great hands.”

A graduate of Stanford University, Carnethon received her master’s degree and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before returning to Stanford in 2002 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention. She joined the faculty of Feinberg in 2002, where she has received the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award from the Medical Faculty Council in 2018 and the Paula J. Stern Award for Outstanding Women in Science and Medicine from the Northwestern Medical Women Faculty Organization in 2023.

About Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, located in Chicago, Illinois, is a premier academic medical center known for its innovative research, education, and patient care. Feinberg has made significant contributions to understanding and treating various medical conditions, with a strong emphasis on preventive medicine. The school is dedicated to training the next generation of physicians and scientists, fostering an environment of excellence in medical education and breakthrough research.

About Dr. Mercedes Carnethon

Dr. Mercedes Carnethon is a distinguished epidemiologist and professor with a profound commitment to understanding and addressing chronic diseases. She earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention at Stanford University. Since joining Feinberg in 2002, Dr. Carnethon has been recognized for her mentorship and leadership, receiving the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award and the Paula J. Stern Award for Outstanding Women in Science and Medicine.

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