By Matt Batcheldor
Daniel Muñoz, MD, MPA, associate professor of Medicine, and Francis Miller, MD, professor of Medicine, have been named interim directors of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Their appointments are effective Dec. 1.
Muñoz, also the executive director of Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI), will be responsible for clinical affairs. Miller, a physician-scientist investigator in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and chief of Cardiology at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, will be responsible for academic affairs.
Muñoz and Miller will assume the directorship duties of Jane Freedman, MD, professor of Medicine, who has been named to serve as interim chair of the Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief for VUMC, also effective Dec. 1.
Muñoz graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He went on to receive his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and his master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2005. He continued to serve in the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, where he completed his residency in 2008, chief residency in 2010 and cardiology fellowship in 2011. After completing a research fellowship at Duke University, he came to Vanderbilt for further subspecialty training, after which he joined the faculty in 2013.
In his decade on the VUMC faculty, Muñoz has served in various leadership roles, including medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), medical director for Quality at VHVI and as interim division co-director for Clinical Affairs from 2020-2021.
Muñoz currently serves as an attending physician in the CVICU, where he is known as an effective teacher and a skilled clinician. His outpatient practice is focused on the realms of preventive and general cardiology.
His research has focused on developing innovative strategies for lowering cardiovascular risk and improving patient outcomes in high-risk primary prevention settings. This includes widely recognized work with the polypill in underserved areas of the rural South. This research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that a polypill approach to the management of hypertension and cholesterol could effectively improve these measurements of cardiovascular health in an underserved population.
Miller obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology and a medical degree from the University of Iowa. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas before returning to the University of Iowa for a cardiology fellowship. He remained at the University of Iowa as a faculty member, rising to professor before relocating to Duke University and the Durham VA Medical Center in 2016 as a professor of Medicine. In 2020, Miller became the chief of Cardiology at the Salisbury VA Medical Center and a professor at Wake Forest University. He joined VUMC and VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in 2022.
Miller has served on several national committees, including as a member of the board of directors of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, committee chair for the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine, chair of an oversight advisory committee for the American Heart Association, and president of the American Federation for Medical Research.
He has contributed to several editorial boards and study sections. and is a deputy editor of Circulation Research. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and American Heart Association.
The central goal of Miller’s research is to understand the molecular and cellular roles of reactive oxygen species in cardiovascular disease. His work on NADPH oxidases in the blood vessels has received international recognition.
As a practicing cardiologist, he strives to unite findings in the research lab with human disease. His current research has resulted in several patents using synthetic RNA ligands as novel therapies. Miller is an avid supporter of the physician-scientist and has received awards for house staff teaching and mentorship of graduate students.
“I am delighted with Drs. Muñoz and Miller’s appointments to serve as joint interim directors of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine,” Freedman said. “I am confident that their expertise and experience in academic, clinical and educational affairs will support the division during an exciting time of ongoing growth and expansion.”