Dr. Rutherford completed medical school at Otago University Medical School in New Zealand, followed by a residency and fellowship in cardiology at Auckland Hospital/Board Teaching Hospital. He finished a research fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He joined the Faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1978 and was Co-Director of the Samuel A. Levine Cardiac Unit at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He was appointed Cardiologist at Green Lane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand in 1981. He returned to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 1985 at the Co-Director of Clinical Cardiology.
Dr. Rutherford joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1993 as holder of the Gail Griffiths Hill Chair in Cardiology, a title he held until 2004. At that time he became the holder of the Jonsson-Rogers Chair in Cardiology. He has been the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and was promoted to his current position as Vice President for Clinical Operations in 2001.
Dr. Rutherford has published more than 100 articles, books, chapters, and abstracts on cardiology and heart care. His research interests have included myocardial infarction and the surgical and medical management of coronary artery disease. He is the content Editor of Circulation “Paths to Discovery” Series.
He was also involved in research that studied the advantages of lowering cholesterol after heart attacks and the benefits of using angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) intervention to reduce the load on the heart after a heart attack.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, an International Fellow in the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, and a member of the Dallas County Medical Society, American Clinical and Climatological Association, Association of University Cardiologists, and Association of Subspecialty Professors.
His awards and honors include: 1976 The Ivan and Maud St. Romain Traveling Research Fellowship, The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand; 1977 New Zealand Medical Research Council Overseas Fellowship; 1988 George W. Thorn Award for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Education (from Medical House staff of Brigham and Women's Hospital); 1995 Distinguished Physician Award in recognition of outstanding individual contribution to Parkland Memorial Hospital; 2011 Gifted Educator Award of the American College of Cardiology; 2015 The Levine Cardiac Unit 50th Anniversary Lecture, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiovascular Division Grand Rounds.
His daughter and son-in-law are on staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and his wife is the first holder of the Cynthia and John Rutherford Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Oncology at UT Southwestern.