Lawrence Deyton, MD ’85, MSPH, to Serve as Keynote Speaker for the 2024 GW MD Graduation and Diploma Ceremony

Lawrence Deyton, MD ’85, in white coat

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2024) — The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to announce that Lawrence Deyton, MD ’85, MSPH, will be the keynote speaker for the 2024 GW MD Graduation and Diploma Ceremony on May 19, 2024, in Lisner Auditorium.

In the spring of 2013, Deyton returned to his medical school alma mater to serve as a clinical professor of medicine in SMHS and professor of health policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW (Milken SPH) — ultimately becoming senior associate dean for clinical public health and Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at SMHS.

In his time with SMHS, Deyton has been instrumental in the school’s development in numerous ways. He led the effort to revolutionize the school’s MD program by creating the Clinical Public Health curriculum, which now involves courses required for all GW medical students. The enhanced curriculum integrates public health and population health and health policy courses into the MD program and features a series of multi-day workshops pairing students with local and national public health, policy, health system, research, and community experts to tackle real-world health problems including HIV/AIDS, asthma, and obesity.

Deyton also was a driving force behind the creation of the GW Culinary Medicine Program and Seva Teaching Kitchen. The program provides future physicians with the skills sets needed to help their patients make the kind of lifestyle, cooking, and eating changes that can not only prevent, but also treat and reverse chronic disease. He was also responsible for catalyzing the creation of GW’s Criminal Justice Health Program, the Clinical Public Health Track Program for trainees in GW’s Graduate Medical Education programs, and revitalizing the Combined MD-Master of Public Health degree program with the Milken Institute SPH.

“Dr. Deyton is an exemplary servant-leader. He came to GW with the perfect blend of career experiences to bring our clinical public health program to life,” said Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, professor of surgery, Walter A. Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, vice president for health affairs, dean, GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and CEO, The GW Medical Faculty Associates. “No matter where Dr. Deyton focuses his attention, he makes a significant positive difference for others and is highly regarded by our community as a thoughtful, generous, and kind leader who gets things done. He is known for being an outstanding mentor and for bringing joy as part of the process, making him the perfect choice to help us celebrate the Class of 2024.”

Deyton returned to GW with more than 31 years of leadership, research, and clinical experience, serving in several federal health and public health agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health, and as a Congressional aide. During this time, he built extensive experience establishing and overseeing high profile health and public health research, education, and clinical programs — particularly working with front line providers, administrators, and researchers.

Included in his vast experience, Deyton oversaw the implementation and enforcement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 for the FDA, was Chief Public Health and Environmental Hazards Officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and served in clinical research and leadership positions in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he was Chief of the Antiretroviral Treatment Branch. While there, Deyton oversaw the development and approval of drug treatment strategies including the first trials of combination therapies which are the cornerstone of current HIV treatments. On the local level, he was a founder of Washington, D.C.’s Whitman Walker Clinic, a community-based service organization specializing in LGBT and HIV care in the District.

He is a graduate of University of Kansas, the Harvard School of Public Health, and GW SMHS. Deyton’s post-doctorate medical training in medicine was at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles County Medical Center, and in infectious diseases at the NIH. He has published over 130 scientific articles in the peer-reviewed literature. He continues to care for patients on a regular basis at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.

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