Craig Kent, dean of Ohio State’s College of Medicine, elected to National Academy of Medicine
Longtime academic leader credited for life-saving innovations in vascular surgery and medicine
In his three years as dean of the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University, Dr. K. Craig Kent has welcomed dozens of high-profile recruits, accelerated the college’s steady growth in federal research funding, and lauded interdisciplinary clinical teams for their high-quality and differentiated patient care.
Today, Kent is the one in the limelight, having been elected to the 2019 class of inductees into the National Academy of Medicine – considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Kent said. “As a young boy growing up on a ranch, to think I’d ever be part of the National Academy of Medicine is something I couldn’t even imagine.
“I’m humbled and honored.”
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) was founded in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine and is one of three academies that make up the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the United States. The National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that work outside of government to provide objective advice on matters of science, technology and health.
New members of the NAM are elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding achievement and their contributions to health and society.
In Kent’s case, that includes leading the charge to convince Congress to approve Medicare coverage of ultrasound screenings for aneurysms. The noninvasive procedure catches weakened arteries before they rupture – saving thousands of lives.
“My research team showed if you screen for aneurysms, which are bubbles on arteries, they can be identified before the arteries rupture. Even though screening would cost a certain amount of money, the test was cost effective because the screening saved so many lives,” Kent said. The work landed him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
Kent was also a national leader in the discipline as vascular surgery transitioned from complex, invasive operations requiring large incisions to minimally invasive procedures using imaging to guide catheters to the section of a blood vessel in need of repair.
And he holds another position with national impact right now, as chair of the American Board of Surgery.
“It’s the responsibility of the American Board of Surgery to be certain that surgeons are well trained,” Kent said. Assessment of a surgeon’s capabilities during and after training is a function of the board, which focuses on ways to keep surgeons in practice up to date with new innovations in the field. Kent has long been active on the board and served as vice chair and chair-elect before becoming chair this academic year.
Kent’s career as a clinician, researcher and educator led to leadership positions at several institutions. He began his career at Harvard and then ran the divisions of vascular surgery at both Cornell and Columbia universities following the merger of New York and Presbyterian hospitals. Following those 11 years in New York, he was chair of surgery at the University of Wisconsin. He joined Ohio State on Sept. 1, 2016.
As a member of the NAM, he will participate in national policy discussions about subjects as varied as the opioid epidemic, health care delivery practices and diversity in medicine.
“The National Academy of Medicine is an incredibly important organization that guides national policy in terms of the way we care for patients,” Kent said. “The academy touches every important area of medicine.”
Kent’s election brings the total number of Ohio State National Academies members to 33, including one professor who is a member of two academies. Kent is one of nine National Academy of Medicine members at Ohio State.
“Dr. Kent’s election to this prestigious organization is well-deserved recognition of his leadership role in academic medicine and the field of surgery,” said Morley O. Stone, senior vice president for research. “It also reflects the importance of Dr. Kent’s work at Ohio State and the esteem in which he is regarded in the medical community.”
The nomination for Kent’s induction bears out his peers’ esteem, noting Kent’s collaboration with radiology and cardiology societies to produce treatment guidelines during his presidency of the Society for Vascular Surgery and his leadership in doubling National Institutes of Health career-development funding for physician scientists.
Kent looks forward to the opportunity to be part of an organization whose foundational goal is to be the most reliable source for credible scientific advice and policy on matters concerning human health.
“I’m very excited to contribute and to follow my passion to improve health care with such an incredibly bright and talented group of leaders,” he said.