Dr. Abboud turns 90!

On this day, in 1931, François M. Abboud, MD, MACP, was born. Although the pandemic prevents us from celebrating this legend properly today, we wanted to offer the below as a reminder of his impact on medicine, on this department, college, and institution, and the rest of the world by gathering as many encomia and achievements in one location. (Photos from a drive-by birthday parade for Dr. Abboud are below.)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Abboud! This department would not have nearly its standing nor impact without your tireless efforts and decades of leadership. You are the giant upon whose shoulders we all stand today.

In December 2013, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, named the University of Iowa’s Cardiovascular Research Center (CRC) in honor of its founder, Dr. Abboud, noting that:

“Dr. Abboud has devoted five decades to developing a world-class center of excellence in cardiovascular research and continues to this day his work at the University of Iowa as an internationally recognized physician-scientist. His career at Iowa has been characterized by an unparalleled commitment to excellence and leadership that led him through a steady progression of key leadership positions in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.”

Dr. Abboud in 1968

Dr. Abboud’s professional biography is an American success story—one that began in the 1950s in a third world medical school in Cairo, Egypt. With serendipity and good advice, he moved in 1955 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to serve as Assistant Resident in Internal Medicine at Milwaukee County Hospital. In 1960, he was appointed to an Advanced Research Fellowship in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa. After progressing through academic levels and professional positions, he rose rapidly to key leadership positions:

1970-1976: Director of the Cardiovascular Division and Chief of Cardiology
1974-2012: Founder and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center
1976: Appointment to Professor and Head (Chairman and DEO) of the UI Department of Internal Medicine, a position he held for the longest tenure of 26 years while leading the department to elite national status.In tribute, the university created the Francois M. Abboud Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine to be held by future Department Heads. 

His research work has led to better understanding and management of cardiovascular disease and stroke, pioneered the use of multidisciplinary teams throughout biomedical science, and significantly advanced the University of Iowa’s national and international reputation for excellence in patient care, research, and education. Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute since 1971, Dr. Abboud’s program project grant is the longest continuously funded grant under the direction of the same principal investigator for over 45 years.

Distinguished Research Award, Association of American Medical Colleges 2006

As one of the university’s premier “scientific ambassadors,” Dr. Abboud’s contributions extend far beyond the university and the state of Iowa. He has served as president of the Association of American Physicians, American Clinical and Climatological Association, American Federation for Clinical Research, Central Society for Clinical Research, and American Heart Association, which named him a Distinguished Scientist for 2007. In 2009, he was awarded the foremost award in academic internal medicine, the George M. Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

During the dedication and 40th anniversary symposium of the center, Jean Robillard, MD, then-UI Vice President for Medical Affairs noted, “Dr. Abboud’s contributions extend far beyond the center, the university, and even the great state of Iowa…Thanks to the accomplishments realized through [his] pioneering spirit, [the University of Iowa] is now well positioned to continue and lead cardiovascular research in the country.”

Dr. Abboud, AHA President 1990
with past presidents Drs. Eckstein and January

Editor in Chief, Circulation Research, 1981-1986
Editor, Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians, 1995-2000

National Presidencies
American Federation for Clinical Research, 1971
Association of University Cardiologists, 1986
American Heart Association, 1990
Association of American Physicians, 1990
American Clinical and Climatological Association, 2007

60 years at Iowa
Longest-serving faculty member, Francois Abboud, reflects on 60 years at the UI (The Daily Iowan)
Dr. Francois Abboud On 60 Years At University Of Iowa (Iowa Public Radio)

Journal articles about Dr. Abboud

Modern Medicine “Contemporaries” – November 1973
François M Abboud MD (European Heart Journal)
François Abboud: Relishing the Academic Environment (Circulation Research)
Introduction of François M. Abboud – Kober Medal Award Ceremony (Journal of Clinical Investigation)

Making the Rounds articles


  • Medal of Merit of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS) 2015
  • American Physiological Society Living History Archival Program 2013
  • Ben Qurrah Award, Arab American Medical Association, Houston Chapter 2010
  • Kober Medal, Association of American Physicians 2009
  • Walter B. Cannon Award and Lectureship, American Physiological Society 2009
  • Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association 2007
  • Distinguished Mentor Award, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine 2006
  • Distinguished Research Award, Association of American Medical Colleges 2006
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine 2005
  • Excellence Award, American College of Physicians, Iowa Chapter 2005
  • Distinguished Scientist Award, American College of Cardiology 2004
  • Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine, American College of Physicians, American Society of Internal Medicine 2000
  • Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecturer, American Physiological Society 2000
  • Research Achievement Award, American Heart Association 1999
  • Gold Heart Award, American Heart Association June 1995 – 1995
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 1994
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension (shared with three others), International Society of Hypertension, Ayers Rock, Australia 1994
  • Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairman of Medicine Award Association of Professors of Medicine 1993
  • Distinguished Service Award, Central Society for Clinical Research 1992
  • Francis Gilman Blake Award, Association of American Physicians 1992
  • Doctor Honoris Causa Diploma, Univ. of Lyon, French Ministry of Educ., Lyon, France October 1991
  • George C. Griffith Lecturer, Greater Los Angeles Affiliate, American Heart Association September 1991
  • CIBA Award for Hypertension Research, Council on High Blood Pressure Research, American Heart Association 1990
  • R.T. Hall Lecturer, The Cardiac Society of Australia & New Zealand 1989
  • Edith King Pearson Chair of Cardiovascular Research, Endowed Chair University of Iowa 1988
  • Laureate Award, Iowa Chapter American College of Physicians 1988
  • Wiggers Award and Medal, Cardiovascular Section American Physiological Society 1988
  • Scientific Councils’ Distinguished Achievement Award Council on Circulation, American Heart Association 1987
  • Hiatt Visiting Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 1986
  • Physician-in-Chief Pro Tempore, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston 1986
  • Mikamo Lecturer, Japanese Circulation Society, Fukuoka, Japan 1984
  • Award of Merit, American Heart Association 1982
  • George E. Brown Memorial Award, Council on Circulation American Heart Association 1980
  • George Cecil Clarke Memorial Lecture, Univ. of Nottingham Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, England 1979
  • Dickinson W. Richards Memorial Award, Council on Pulmonary Diseases American Heart Association 1977
  • ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1972


  • International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS) Fellow 2015 – Present
  • Association of Black Cardiologists 2009 – Present
  • American Autonomic Society 2006 – Present
  • Association for Patient-Oriented Research (Founding Member) 1999 – Present
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1997 – Present
  • Autonomic Neuroscience Institute, International Board of Directors 1997 – Present
  • Society for Neuroscience 1996 – Present
  • American Society of Internal Medicine 1993 – Present
  • American College of Physicians (Master) 1991 – Present
    • Fellow 1967 – 1991
  • Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand 1989 – Present
  • Inter-American Society of Hypertension 1989 – Present
  • National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences 1988 – Present
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science 1985 – Present
  • Alpha Omega Alpha 1976 – Present
  • Association of Professors of Medicine 1976 – Present
  • American Clinical and Climatological Association 1973 – Present
  • Association of American Physicians 1973 – Present
  • American College of Cardiology (Fellow) 1972 – Present
  • Association of University Cardiologists 1972 – Present
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 1971 – Present
  • Central Clinical Research Club 1971 – Present
  • New York Academy of Sciences 1966 – Present
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation 1964 – Present
    • Vice President, 1976
  • American Physiological Society, Fellow, Cardiovascular Section, 2009 1963 – Present
  • American Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1962 – Present
  • Central Society for Clinical Research 1962 – Present
  • Society of the Sigma Xi 1962 – Present
  • American Association of University Professors 1961 – Present
  • American Federation for Clinical Research 1958 – Present
  • American Medical Association 1958 – Present
  • American Heart Association 1957 – Present Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences 1988

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