David J. Skorton

Association of American Medical Colleges
Academic administrator; Biomedical researcher; Cardiologist; Educator
Leadership, Policy, and Communications
Educational and Academic Leadership

As the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest and most comprehensive museum and research complex, Dr. Skorton oversees 19 museums and galleries, 20 libraries, the National Zoo and numerous research centers, including the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  Dr. Skorton is the first physician to lead the Smithsonian. 

An ardent and nationally recognized supporter of the arts and humanities, Dr. Skorton has called for a national dialogue to emphasize the importance of these disciplines for the future of the nation. Among his goals is to position the Smithsonian as a respected leader in the promotion of civil discourse of major public issues. 

A board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Skorton was previously president of Cornell University, a position he held from July 2006. He was also a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and in Cornell’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering. His research focus is congenital heart disease and cardiac imaging and image processing. Under Dr. Skorton’s leadership, Cornell partnered with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to win an international competition to create a new type of graduate school, Cornell NYC Tech, under development on Roosevelt Island in New York City. 

Dr. Skorton has published numerous articles, reviews, book chapters, and texts in the areas of cardiac imaging and image processing and is a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  In 2015, he was appointed as a Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University.   

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