Vasum Peiris

Chief Medical Officer for Pediatrics and Special Populations


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Vasum Peiris

As Chief Medical Officer and Director for Pediatrics and Special Populations at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Vasum provides vision and executive, clinical and scientific leadership for the Center and Agency. He serves as the Center’s senior expert on pediatric clinical science and practice, overseeing all efforts with respect to innovation, development, assessment, regulation and safe use of medical devices intended for pediatric and special populations. His executive leadership facilitates development and implementation of novel strategies, policies and initiatives that, by fostering internal and external relationships and synergy among matrixed public and private sector organizations, enhances the ability of the Agency to optimally fulfil its public health mission. Vasum’s innovative, collaborative, and cross-cutting work at the FDA has been recognized with multiple awards including the Commissioner’s Special Citation and the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence.

Prior to joining the FDA, Vasum was the Joon Park M.D. Endowed Chair in Medical Excellence and Chief of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and University Medical Center (UMC), with appointments in both the Departments of Pediatrics and (adjunct) Internal Medicine. In his clinical role, Vasum provided full spectrum critical care and outpatient services, and served as the Medical Director of the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Imaging Laboratory and Medical Director of the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardio-Respiratory Exercise Laboratory at TTUHSC/UMC.  In his teaching role, Vasum supported and developed novel courses across the University including at the Law School.  He was honored to be selected to co-teach the Basic Science to Clinical Science Translational Seminar, a course fundamental to helping young doctors provide high quality patient- and family-centered care by critically evaluating the science behind clinical management.  As endowed faculty, Vasum provided senior leadership for the University in a number of strategic areas, including creating the Department of Public Health for which he was inaugural faculty and assisted in developing the curricula and program offering unique training in rural health. He also helped develop the TTUHSC Clinical Research Institute, promoting patient-oriented translational and outcomes research, served on the institutional review board (IRB) and faculty credentialing committee.

Vasum is an accomplished author and award-winning research scientist. A few highlights of work and support that have been especially gratifying follow. Honoring his work on the impact of socioeconomic position and insurance status on prenatal evaluation and planning for management of critical congenital heart disease, Vasum was awarded First Prize for The Young Investigator Award by the Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Vasum helped design, administer and evaluate a survey of Congress to clarify factors associated with persisting challenges of passing federal health initiatives. Vasum has been honored with an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship for work in developing a collaborative model for sustaining viability of community health centers. He also has been supported and funded by the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society, the American Federation for Aging Research, the Harvard Medical Scholars Program, the TTUHSC Intramural Research Grants, the FDA Centers of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) Collaborative Research Grants, and the FDA Critical Path to Public Private Partnerships Grant.

Vasum is triple board certified: Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology by the American Board of Pediatrics and Adult Congenital Cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Society of Echocardiography.

Vasum completed fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiovascular Research at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital with senior fellowship training in Congenital Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. He completed residency at the Yale School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital.   Prior to completing his Medical Doctorate at The University of Vermont College of Medicine, he earned his Master of Public Health ‘with distinction’ at the Yale School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. His graduate thesis addressed the influence of federal policy on patient care.  Vasum earned his undergraduate degree in the selective honors major of Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale University. His undergraduate thesis addressed the ethical issues in the political economy of health care reform.

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