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Renowned Cardiologist, Nobel Laureate to Speak at Hooding Ceremony

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Bernard Lown, M.D., a pioneering cardiologist who invented defibrillation in 1961 and who established the world’s first coronary care unit, will speak at the hooding ceremony for Wake Forest University School of Medicine on Sunday May 15 at 4 p.m.

Lown won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for his efforts in co-founding, with Evgeni Chazov of the Soviet Union, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

He will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Wake Forest University at commencement on Monday May 16.

Lown is professor of cardiology emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, senior physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and founder and chairman emeritus of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation. Though in his 80s, Lown is in active cardiology practice at the Lown Cardiovascular Center in Brookline, Mass..

He also is the author of The Lost Art of Healing, in which he decries the current failure of doctors to communicate with their patients and to take the kind of medical history that provides the diagnosis before a hand is laid on the patient. Instead, medicine today is often practiced by “technicians” who process patients through use of laboratory tests and high-technology diagnostic machinery.

Besides inventing the defibrillator, Lown also introduced the drug Lidocaine, used worldwide to control heartbeat irregularities. His research has focused on the causes and processes of heart rhythm disturbances. Currently, he is defining the clinical criteria for surgical and other interventions for patients with ischemic heart disease, the prelude to heart attacks.

At the hooding ceremony, graduating medical students get the academic hoods that symbolize the M.D. degree. Hoods identify the level of the degree, the field of learning and the institution that awards it.


Media Contacts: Robert Conn,, Shannon Koontz,, or Karen Richardson,, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. U.S. News & World Report ranked Wake Forest University School of Medicine 23rd in primary care, 40th in research and 12th in geriatrics training among the nation's medical schools. It ranks 36th in research funding by the National Institutes of Health. More than 100 medical school faculty are listed in Best Doctors in America.

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