Dr. Zipes received his B.A. cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1961, his M.D. cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1964 and his postgraduate training at Duke University Medical Center from 1964 to 1968. He joined Indiana University School of Medicine in 1970 and became Professor of Medicine in 1976, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1994, and Director of the Cardiology Division and Krannert Institute of Cardiology in 1995, until 2004. He is past president of the: Citizen's Academy of the FBI; Indianapolis Opera; Cardiac Electrophysiology Society; Association of University Cardiologists; Heart Rhythm Society; and American College of Cardiology; and past chairman of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
He was the founding editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology (1989-2004) and was the founding editor of Heart Rhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society (2004-2014). He has published almost 900 articles and 16 textbooks (more than 30 including additional editions), including Clinical Arrhythmology and Electrophysiology (3rd edition 2019), Cardiac Electrophysiology, From Cell to Bedside (7th edition 2018), Braunwald's Heart Disease, A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine (11th edition 2019); Case Studies in Cardiac Electrophysiology (2018), and Electrocardiography of Arrhythmias (2012).
From the American Heart Association he has received the Distinguished Achievement Award (1989), the Herrick Award (1997), and the Cor Vitae Award (2004). He has received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Heart Rhythm Society (1995) and the American College of Cardiology (1996). He has received the Cardiostim Medal (2006). He is a fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, Heart Rhythm Society, American Heart Association, American College of Physicians, Master of the American College of Cardiology and Honorary Foreign Member of the Argentine Society of Cardiology and of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology. In 2001, he received the "Sagamore of the Wabash" from the Governor of Indiana, Frank O'Bannon, and in 2004, the Hon Baron P. Hill, House of Representatives, read a tribute about Dr. Zipes into the U.S. Congressional Record. He has been recognized as an Awardee of 75 Years of Medical Excellence, Duke University Medical Center and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Duke University Medical Alumni Association 2007. In 2009, he received the Presidential Citation from the American College of Cardiology. He received the President's Medal Indiana University (2010), President's Award Heart Rhythm Society (2013), Pioneer in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology Heart Rhythm Society (2015), and Distinguished Career Achievement Award Dartmouth (Geisel) Medical School (2015). He received the Gold Medal from the European Society of Cardiology (2013) and from the German Cardiac Society (2018).
The following have been endowed: Douglas P Zipes Research Prize Dartmouth Medical School; Medtronic Zipes Chair in Cardiology and the Joan and Douglas Zipes Visiting Professorship, both at Indiana University; the Douglas P. Zipes, MD Lectureship at the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions; the Douglas P. Zipes, MD Distinguished Young Scientist Award at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Sessions; and the Joan and Douglas Zipes Publication of the Year Award Heart Rhythm Society.
He writes a weekly health column for the Saturday Evening Post, a short story called "Stolen Hearts", and a travel story "Into Africa." He has published thriller novels called "The Black Widows," "Ripples in Opperman's Pond," and "Not Just a Game." He has published a memoir "Damn the Naysayers." Joan, his wife of 58 years, is the managing editor of Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine of which he is editor. He also edits Practice Update Cardiology. He has three children (Debra, Jeffrey and David) and five grandchildren (Hannah, Lily, Ellie, Tyler, and Annie) all living in Indianapolis.