Amassing more than five decades of professional experience, Robert Regier Rich, MD, is a venerated and prominent physician, medical educator and researcher who has earned the rank of dean and professor emeritus at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 2017. From 2004 to 2010, he was senior vice president for medicine and dean of the school of medicine at UAB. He was an associate vice president and associate vice provost of Interprofessional Education at UAB from 2014 to 2016, having been a professor of medical education from 2012 to 2017 and a professor of medicine and microbiology from 2004 to 2017. Prior to these roles, Dr. Rich served a number of academic facilities, including Emory University, Baylor College of Medicine, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School. From 1977 to 1991, he was also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Alongside his primary endeavors, Dr. Rich has held such prestigious roles as chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Medicine, co-chairman of the advisory panel on conflicts of interest in research at the Association of American Medical Colleges, member of the national human research protection advisory committee with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and chairman of the research committees of the Arthritis Foundation and the Multiple Sclerosis Society, among several others. In addition, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and was elected to membership of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
To prepare for his career, Dr. Rich obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in 1962. He subsequently received a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Kansas in 1966. Afterward, he completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington, and subsequently served as a clinical associate, chief clinical associate and senior staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Rich has also been a prolific author and editor, having served as the editor-in-chief of the comprehensive textbook “Clinical Immunology: Principles and Practice” from its first through fifth editions between 1996 and 2018. He considers his involvement with the textbook to be a highlight of his career. In addition, he acted as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Immunology from 2003 to 2008 and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Clinical and Experimental Immunology and the Journal of Clinical Immunology. Furthermore, he has contributed myriad articles to professional journals.
In recognition of his exceptional contributions to medicine, Dr. Rich was honored with the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology in 2012, and the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists in 1999 and 2008, respectively. Likewise, he earned a Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health in 1987 and a Research Career Development Award in 1975.
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