A highly accomplished physician, investigator, mentor and administrator who has made singular contributions in cardiovascular disease research, Dr. Richard A. Walsh is professor and chair of medicine and professor of physiology and biophysics at Case Western Reserve University. He also is physician in chief at University Hospitals of Cleveland.
After graduating magna cum laude and first in his class from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, he served his internship and residency in internal medicine at North Carolina Memorial Hospital.
“It was quite obvious to everyone that he was the smartest and most knowledgeable member of what was a truly remarkable group of medicine house officers,” recalls a fellow former resident, Eugene P. Orringer, MD, professor of medicine at UNC. “It was therefore not surprising that Rick was given the Henry Fordham Award, which each year recognizes one member of the house staff for his or her qualities of teaching, as well as patience, humility and devotion to medicine.”
Following his residency at UNC, Dr. Walsh returned to Georgetown for a fellowship in cardiology. In 1977, he joined the Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he was director of the Cardiac Catheterization Hemodynamics Laboratory. He also served for eight years as director of the Cardiopulmonary Physiology Laboratory at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio.
In 1990, Dr. Walsh became professor of medicine and director of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was persuaded to accept the academic and clinical leadership positions at Case Western Reserve in 1998.
Starting early in his research career, Dr. Walsh has pioneered significant advances in the understanding of cardiovascular disease. “He was among the first wave of investigators to apply cutting-edge hemodynamic approaches to human physiology research in the cardiac catheterization lab,” says Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Medicine and executive dean of the UNC School of Medicine. “He performed the landmark work that led to our understanding of the hemodynamics of calcium channel blockers, as well as making major contributions to the understanding of most of the major drugs with circulatory functions. He was among the first investigators to apply molecular approaches to the understanding of the pathophysiology of heart failure, and he led in the application of hemodynamic assessments in small animal models of human heart disease.” His research has contributed greatly to “our knowledge of how aberrant signal transduction alters cardiac size and function,” according to Dr. Runge.
At the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Walsh helped create one of the nation’s leading centers for molecular physiology research into heart disease. The Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve has grown substantially under his leadership and now ranks among the top recipients of National Institutes of Health research funding.
Dr. Walsh’s numerous honors and awards include the Robert Beamish Award of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Science and the Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. He served as president of the Association of Professors of Medicine in 2011-2012; and last year he received that organization’s highest honor, the Robert H. Williams, MD, Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award.
Dr. Walsh was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology for nearly ten years and has served on the editorial boards of several other prestigious journals. He has edited four books, published more than 220 manuscripts and delivered scores of guest lectures.
He is a fellow of seven medical societies including the American College of Cardiology and the American Physiological Society. He also has served on and led special study sections of the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration and the American Heart Association.
In recognition of his exceptional achievements and influence as a clinician, scholar, educator, investigator and leader in his profession, we are proud to present the Distinguished Medical Alumnus Award to Dr. Richard A. Walsh.