Professor Velimir Božikov, MD, PhD joined the St. Catherine Hospital as a renowned specialist in field of diabetology and endocrinology with 40 years of clinical experience. He is retired Full Professor with tenure for internal medicine at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine and former director of Dubrava University Hospital (1995-2001) and long-time director of the Department for Internal Medicine at the same Hospital (1995-2003 and 2005-2012). He has been a State secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from the beginning of 2004 to April 2005.
He graduated from the Medical School in Zagreb in 1974 and completed his specialty in internal medicine. He used to practice for more than two decades at the Vuk Vrhovac Institute, the leading institution for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases under the leadership of professor and academician Zdenko Škrabalo, a world renowned and recognized expert who had globally acknowledged the Croatian Model of health care organization for diabetic patients. He has earned his Master of Science degree in 1979 with a thesis entitled "Somatostatin and diabetes: the influence of exogenous somatostatin on the secretion of endogenous pancreatic hormone, growth hormone and some metabolic parameters in middle-aged controls and diabetic patients". He defended his PhD dissertation entitled "Anti-tumorous effect of somatostatin" at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine in 1981 followed by publication of the dissertation’s results in leading high impact scientific journals Blood, International Journal of Cancer and Diabetology already in the same and next year. He was rewarded the 1980 Vuk Vrhovac award for scientific achievements in diabetology for his scientific research on somatostatin and its role in diabetes. Apart from somatostatin, Professor Božikov has focused on the study of diabetic complications, particularly on diabetic foot, oxidative stress and cardiovascular complications of diabetes. His professional development includes study visits to the University Hospitals in Vienna (Austria), Hamburg (Germany) and Lund (Sweden). He had worked for more than one year in the Republic of Malta as a diabetes consultant within the framework of the World Health Organization project aimed for the establishment of diabetes health care organization that was run by the Vuk Vrhovac Institute. In 1994 he was appointed as a director of the former Military Hospital in Zagreb, with the task of transforming it and developing into a teaching hospital that he successfully performed and continued to work at Dubrava University Hospital. He was the head of several scientific projects including several international randomized clinical trials.
Professor Božikov has published more than 200 scientific and professional papers including chapters in six textbooks like textbooks in Internal Medicine, Pathophysiology and Diabetic Foot. He edited the Croatian edition of the Clinical Pharmacy and Therapy textbook. He is a member of many domestic and international medical and academic societies, among them the Croatian Society for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases of the Croatian Medical Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). He was president of the Croatian Endocrinological Society of the Croatian Medical Association.