Distributed November 7, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Scott Turner

Brown unveils David S. Greer, M.D., Professorship in Geriatric Medicine

Richard W. Besdine, M.D., will hold the David S. Greer, M.D., Professorship in Geriatric Medicine. Besdine directs the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. Greer is dean of medicine emeritus. More than $1.5 million in gifts to the Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital endowed the professorship.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Richard W. Besdine, M.D., a nationally recognized authority on geriatric medicine, has been selected as the University’s first David. S. Greer, M.D., Professor of Geriatric Medicine. The Greer Professorship honors the achievements of the Brown Medical School’s second dean of medicine.

For more than 25 years, Besdine has developed and advanced the field of geriatrics through university-based efforts and public health care policy work. He came to Brown last July as director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, professor of medicine, and director of the Division of Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine. He is also chief of geriatrics for Lifespan.

Prior to his appointment at Brown, Besdine was professor of medicine, director of the Center on Aging, and Travelers Professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He was also principal investigator of an NIH Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. Besdine served for 15 years on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, where he co-founded the Division on Aging and developed one of the first academic fellowship training programs in geriatrics.

From 1995 to 1997, Besdine was the Heath Care Financing Administration’s chief medical officer and director of its Health Standards and Quality Bureau, overseeing standards, enforcement and improvement of the quality of health care for 70 million Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Currently, he is a senior advisor to HCFA’s Healthy Aging project and a consultant to the HCFA administrator on quality of care.

Besdine has trained more than 90 physicians for careers in geriatrics.

“It is indeed Brown’s great fortune to have attracted someone of Richard Besdine’s outstanding achievement and stature,” said Donald J. Marsh, dean of medicine. “We’re looking forward to his great leadership of our effort in geriatrics.”

The Greer professorship was endowed with more than $1.5 million in gifts to the Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital. The largest contribution came to Brown from Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Jaffe through the Jaffe Foundation.

David S. Greer, M.D., served as dean of medicine in the Brown Medical School from 1981 to 1992 and is now dean of medicine emeritus. During his tenure, the school implemented its eight-year signature curriculum, the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME). Greer had also served as associate dean of medicine and professor of community health. He founded and chaired the Department of Family Medicine, the Department of Community Health, and the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research.

In 1985, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a group Greer and five other physicians had founded in 1980, received the Nobel Peace Prize. To help demonstrate his belief that “the greatest danger to community health right now is nuclear war,” Greer developed a slide show about the medical effects of a nuclear blast. The show was viewed around the world.

The professorship is a fitting tribute to Dr. Greer, a socially responsible physician, whose contributions to Brown Medical School are inestimable, said Marsh.

Besdine is a resident of Providence. Greer lives in Fall River, Mass.