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Richard Schatz Biography

Richard Schatz is research director of cardiovascular interventions at the Scripps Heart, Lung, and Vascular Center and director of gene and stem cell therapy. A recognized international expert in interventional cardiology, he has published and lectured extensively. His seminal work in coronary stents spurred a revolution in the treatment of coronary artery disease – more than 2 million of them are placed annually worldwide, with an immeasurable impact on relieving mortality and morbidity, improving patients’ lives, and reducing healthcare costs. 

While a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, he collaborated with fellow 2019 Russ Prize recipient Julio Palmaz to develop a novel approach to angioplasty, pioneering the field of vascular stents. In 1988, they received FDA approval to proceed with the first U.S. protocol to study stents in the coronary circulation, and in 1994, the FDA approved the Palmaz-Schatz stent, the first stent to reduce restenosis, heralding a new era in the treatment of coronary disease. Nearly 100 million patients have been treated with it worldwide, making the Palmaz-Schatz Stent one of the top 10 medical device patents of the last 50 years.

Schatz attended the State University of New York at Buffalo and earned his M.D. from Duke Medical School, where his honors included the Davison Scholarship Award and Lange Medical Publication Award. He also studied at the Thorax center in Rotterdam and at Oxford University. He served his internship and residency at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, followed by a fellowship at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. There, he was director of the Cardiovascular Technologist School, Cardiology Clinic, Coronary Angioplasty, and Cardiac Catheterization Labs before becoming assistant chief and then acting chief of cardiology.

Honored with both the distinguished alumnus award and the Lifetime Scholar Award by Duke University Medical Center, Schatz is a distinguished fellow of the Hong Kong Cardiology Society as well as an elected fellow of the American College of Cardiology.