MCW/Marquette Medical Alumni Association

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Alumnus Profile

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Spring 2013 issue (pdf)

D. Robert Dufour, MD ’75

You could say the education gene runs in my family,” says D. Robert Dufour, MD ’75, the son of a former faculty member at Marquette University in Milwaukee and father of four grown children who are all educators in some capacity. Dr. Dufour is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where he still gives lectures and trains residents and medical students in clinical chemistry, endocrinology and gastroenterology. He also is Consultant Pathologist and an attending physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he served as Chief, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine until his retirement in 2005.

Dr. Dufour has received numerous awards during his career, most recently the 2012 Excellence in Education Award by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The award recognizes his outstanding contributions in the development of continuing medical education for pathologists and laboratory professionals, as well as the creation of the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program curricula.

“The most rewarding title I have held during my career in medicine has been teacher,” he said. “Helping to develop the next generation of physicians has been my life’s work.”

Dr. Dufour also received the 1999 Outstanding Contributions in Education award from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC), as well as several outstanding faculty honors from George Washington University and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., where he previously was a member of the faculty.

Dr. Dufour serves as Executive Editor of labtestsonline.org, a global network of websites designed to help visitors better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care and more effectively discuss their health care with their physicians. Launched in 2001 by the AACC, Lab Tests Online is available or in development in 17 countries and 14 languages. 

“We get more than three million visitors a month, both from patients looking for more information about their health as well as from medical professionals,” Dr. Dufour said. “This website helps doctors and lab workers keep up with advances in the science and also serves as a helpful reference tool.”

Dr. Dufour is past-Treasurer and former at-large member of the AACC’s Board of Directors. He serves as Chair of the CAP Accreditation Education Committee and as CAP’s State Commissioner for the District of Columbia. He is also a CAP lab inspector. Dr. Dufour is a diplomat of the American Board of Pathology and a fellow of CAP and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.

Dr. Dufour works two days a week at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and serves as a member of the VA National Hepatitis C Technical Advisory Group, which provides education for veterans who have the hepatitis C infection or have tested positive in the past. Hepatitis C and viral hepatitis have been a major focus of Dr. Dufour’s research work.

“I study the ability of lab tests to better diagnose hepatitis and more accurately analyze test results, especially at VA hospitals,” Dr. Dufour said. “We see a higher incidence of hepatitis C among veterans, in large part because of substance abuse and mental health issues.”
A co-associate editor of the journal Clinical Chemistry, Dr. Dufour has authored one book and edited several others, and has written more than 150 papers, abstracts and book chapters. He also helped develop two software programs for teaching medical students the cost-effective use of laboratory tests.

Dr. Dufour lives in Laurel, Md., with his wife Mary C. Dufour (nee Henke), MD ’75, MPH. They married while both were students at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Mary Dufour retired from the U.S. Public Health Service in 2003 as an Assistant Surgeon General and Deputy Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. A physician epidemiologist, she helped bring awareness to the medical consequences of alcohol, especially for women and the elderly.

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