Victor Dzau was born in Shanghai. His father owned a chemical manufacturing company. He and his family fled to Hong Kong to escape from the Chinese Communist government. He received his M.D. from the medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
Dzau was the Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University. He then served as the Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University and President and CEO of the Duke University Medical Center. Dzau is the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine. He was then elected President of the then Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine).
He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was the previous Chairman of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee, and he served on the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH. Dr. Dzau has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering of the discipline of vascular medicine, and his leadership in health care innovation.