Commissioner Mercedes K.C. Dullum, MD
November 2011-May 2012
Dr. Mercedes Dullum, a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, was nominated by Gov. John P. de Jongh Jr. on November 7, 2011, to head the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health as Acting Commissioner. The Senate Committee on Rules and the Judiciary of the 29th Legislature voted January 12, 2012, to send a favorable vote at her initial confirmation hearing to the Committee of the Whole. She was sworn-in on March 15, 2012. She is the first physician, since 2003, tapped to head the Department of Health.
Dr. Dullum received her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and completed her Thoracic Surgery Residency at the George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She was named one of the top cardiac surgeons in Washington D.C., where she served as one of the managing director of a multi-physician, multi- million dollar practice. In addition to D.C., she holds physician licenses in the states of Maryland and Florida. She served as the Director of Cardiac surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida in active practice of cardiac surgery for several years. She was also the Medical Director of International Patient services for Cleveland Clinic Florida for several years. She has been involved in quality improvement initiatives and positions for most of her career.
Dr. Dullum is no stranger to the Virgin Islands and is well-known and well-respected for her leadership in providing education and training opportunities to the V.I. medical community. She is credited for lending her expertise through her work at Cleveland Clinic to health care providers in the Territory for the establishment of the Telemedicine facility at Myrah Keating Clinic on St. John with the Cleveland Clinic Florida She has fought to reverse healthcare disparities both in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in the Caribbean, a region whose culture and approach to medicine that she is keenly familiar with having been born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies.
Dr. Dullum is affiliated with several medical societies including Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and is certified with the National Board of Medical Examiners, American Board of Surgery, and American Board of Thoracic Surgery among others. She has made several presentations and co-authored more than 30 publications on issues relative to invasive cardiac surgery. Past and present appointments include President, Women in Thoracic Surgery from 2003-2005; medical director with international patient services Cleveland Clinic, Florida and an expert panel member with the Food and Drug Administration. She is married to Robert L. Lechner, PhD.