Scripps Health’s Eric Topol Named Most Influential Physician Leader

Chief Academic Officer of the San Diego health system ranks No. 1 in annual list compiled by Modern Healthcare magazine

Eric Topol, MD, cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health.

Eric Topol, MD, cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health.

SAN DIEGO – Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric Topol, M.D., has been named the most influential physician executive in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine.

The internationally recognized cardiologist, geneticist and researcher topped the 2012 edition of the publication’s annual list of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare, which included National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

Dr. Topol’s acclaimed book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care,” helped to propel him to the No. 1 position in his inaugural appearance on the list, according to a Modern Healthcare article announcing the rankings.

“While others debate arcane legal points and the philosophical slippery slopes pertaining to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Topol instead writes about how ‘a propitious convergence of maturing internet, ever-increasing bandwidth, near-ubiquitous connectivity, and remarkable miniature pocket computers in the form of mobile phones’ are taking physicians and patients where no one has gone before,” the Modern Healthcare article said.

“I am humbled by the recognition, which should go to all of my colleagues at Scripps Health for their efforts to transform the future of medicine,” Dr. Topol said of the honor.

Readers of the magazine and its sister publication, Modern Physician, nominated 100 candidates for this year’s ranking, and their votes accounted for 50 percent of the selection outcome, according to the publications. The remaining portion of the outcome was determined by magazine senior editors.

“This well-deserved national honor recognizes Dr. Topol’s leadership with Scripps Health in bringing innovative, high-quality care and technology to patients,” Scripps Health Chief Executive Officer Chris Van Gorder said.

At Scripps Health, Dr. Topol leads the effort to move medical research and technology from the laboratory to the bedside, oversees the Genomic Medicine Program and practices cardiology at Scripps Clinic. He also directs the Scripps Translational Science Institute, a major research initiative at Scripps Health involving a collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute.

He is a professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and vice chairman of the West Wireless Health Institute, both in La Jolla.

His most recent research work has focused on special cells that could help to predict heart attacks and genetic markers that might shed light on lifelong health and mysterious illnesses that evade diagnosis.

Dr. Topol has emerged as a digital medicine pioneer and a leading advocate of a technological revolution that promises to transform the delivery of healthcare services, lower the cost of medicine and personalize the treatment of illness.

“It has been terrific to see the positive response to ‘The Creative Destruction of Medicine,’ which encapsulates the phenomenal opportunity that we all have to radically improve health care and move from a population to individual medicine approach,” Dr. Topol said.

In August, Dr. Topol was named one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare, coming in at No. 69. Scripps CEO and President Chris Van Gorder also was named in that list, coming in at No. 18.

Before joining Scripps Health in 2006, Dr. Topol led the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic for 15 years. He has written more than 1,100 peer-reviewed articles and has edited more than 30 books. He was the first physician to publish safety concerns about the cardiovascular risk of the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, which was later removed from the market by its manufacturer.

Dr. Topol has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association of Physicians, and he was recognized by Thomson Reuters’ Institute of Scientific Information for being among the 10 most cited biomedical researchers in medicine in the past decade.

About Scripps Translational Science Institute

Founded in 2006, the Scripps Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) is an initiative of Scripps Health, in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute. STSI initiates research designed to help move basic research from the laboratory to the patient bedside, bridging the gap between basic science and clinical trials. Scripps Genomic Medicine is a program of STSI and involves genotyping tens of thousands of individuals to identify and define genes responsible for major diseases and the underpinnings of health.

About Scripps Health

Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2.5 billion nonprofit integrated health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 13,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of physician offices and 23 outpatient centers and clinics.

Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research, genomic medicine, wireless health care and graduate medical education. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Scripps has been consistently recognized by Fortune, Working Mother magazine and AARP as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at

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