Remembering Donald Baim

Donald Baim made tremendous contributions to the evolution of clinical research and advances in interventional cardiology.

Following training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Stanford University, Dr. Baim was recruited to the Harvard Medical School Faculty in 1981 to establish an Interventional Cardiology program at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, now the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For nearly 20 years at Beth Israel, he served as Acting Director of the Coronary Care Unit, Associate Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Professor of Medicine, and Chief of the Interventional Cardiology Section.

Under his leadership, the interventional cardiology program earned international recognition for the evaluation of new interventional devices. A large part of Dr. Baim’s legacy is the more than 60 interventional cardiology fellows whom he trained; many are now internationally recognized leaders whether in academia, regional health systems, or industry. He served as editor of the definitive textbook in the field, Grossman’s Cardiac Catheterization, Angiography and Intervention, and authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Baim collaborated with Richard Kuntz, MD and co-founded the Cardiovascular Data Analysis Center (CDAC) at Beth Israel Hospital in 1993. Under their leadership, CDAC became the industry leader in the design and management of clinical trials of new cardiovascular device technology. In 2000, CDAC became the Harvard Clinical Research Institute (HCRI), an independent not-for-profit research organization, reflecting a broader role across all of the Harvard teaching hospitals. Concurrently, Dr. Baim moved his clinical activities to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he served as Senior Physician. Dr. Baim served as the organization’s Chief Scientific Officer in 2005 and 2006.

Dr. Baim joined Boston Scientific in July 2006 as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer. At Boston Scientific, he continued his passion for developing cardiovascular devices to improve patients’ outcomes through clinical research. As Dr. Baim announced when he joined Boston Scientific, “I do not leave a lifetime career in academic medicine lightly, but I am convinced I can have a greater impact on the development of revolutionary health care technologies by becoming a member of the leadership team of what is now one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers.”

Regarded by his peers as an outstanding physician who helped thousands of patients, as well as a world class clinical scientist, an expert in device design, and an exemplary collaborator, he excelled in his ability to use understandable terms to explain complex data and research. In 2009, he died at the age of 60 from surgical complications related to the treatment of adrenal cancer. His legacy continues through the work of the Baim Institute for Clinical Research.