Robert Jarvik, M.D. ’68, H’83
Arents Award Recipient for Excellence in Medical Science
Robert Jarvik, M.D. is chairman and CEO of Jarvik Heart Inc., the manufacturer of the Jarvik 2000 artificial heart. Jarvik has been active in artificial heart development for more than 40 years; his work has included invention, engineering, manufacturing development, laboratory and clinical research, regulatory affairs, and business management. Throughout his career, he has emphasized the invention and simplification of artificial heart technology, with the goal of providing a practical artificial heart for widespread application. He developed the human anatomic configuration and surgical placement of the Jarvik 7, which led to the first human application of a permanent total artificial heart in recipient Barney Clark in 1982.
Jarvik holds more than 30 U.S. and foreign patents covering permanent artificial hearts, temporary blood pumps for use in less-invasive heart surgery, methods of improving cardiomyoplasty, and other inventions, such as virtual reality exercise devices. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he has served as principal investigator on several National Institutes of Health grants and contracts. He has collaborated in various research programs at medical centers throughout the United States and abroad, and is now conducting research under a major NIH contract to develop artificial hearts for children and infants,
In 2006-07, Jarvik served as national spokesperson for Lipitor, the leading treatment for high cholesterol, so he has been both an advocate for preventive measures to reduce patients’ risk of heart disease, as well as a developer of leading technology to treat severe heart failure.
Jarvik earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in occupational biomechanics at New York University, and a medical degree from the Division of Artificial Organs at the University of Utah. He is married to Marilyn vos Savant, who writes the Parade magazine column “Ask Marilyn,” and works with him in the development and administration of Jarvik Heart Inc.