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Dr. Richard Besdine Honored with 2012 Dr. Milton Hamolsky Life Achievement Award

At the Rhode Island Chapter Meeting on May 3, 2012, Dr. Richard Besdine was honored with the chapter's highest award.

Text of Speech by Dr. Milton Hamolsky

I requested-and was granted-the privilege of paying tribute to our honoree for 2012. The real lasting value of an award in one's name from the ACP is the quality of those subsequently selected for the honor. It is a particular pleasure for me to claim some linkage to Dr. Richard Besdine for (1) my basic training was at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School- the same venues of some of his early pioneering contributions to our profession, (2) I came to Brown University in 1963 to share in the beginning of our venture into Bio-Medicine and he came to Brown in 2000 in a major leadership position, and (3)1 have joined the ranks of the Nonagenarians just in time to benefit from his emergence as the leader in Geriatrics for Brown and its affiliated institutions.

You have doubtless heard the phrase that "Time does not permit the proper credit for the accomplishments of an eminent physician invited to one of our institutions." My recent analysis of Dr. Besdine's C.V. revealed some 52 positions and honors, from 1965 to 2011, in a progressively more distinguished career, nationally and internationally, devoted to the development and advancement of Geriatrics through University-Based and Public Health Policy. I have selected just a few of his outstanding contributions (probably unknown to many of us).

l. Training in I.M. Infectious Disease and Immunology in the US, then Geriatrics at Glasgow, Board Certified in each field.

2. Chief Medical Officer and Director of The Health Standards and Quality Bureau for the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), responsible for Standards of Inspection, Improvement and Enforcement of Health Care Quality for our nation's 70 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. As Director, he was responsible for 750 Staff and a $960 million Budget.

3. He served for 15 years at Harvard's Division on Aging, developed, with Dr. John Rowe, one of the first Academic Geriatric Fellowship Training Programs in the country; then Professor of Medicine and Founding Director of U. Conn. Center on Aging; First Traveler's Professor of Geriatrics & Gerontology; Principal Investigator of the NIH Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, Dedicated to Prolonging Quality Vitality in the Elderly.

4. He has been a respected major force in the creation of, the recruitment and training programs for more than 115 Faculty Geriatricians in his three leading Fellowship Programs.

5. He has published about 100 articles, several of which have been characterized as most influential in his field.

Based on his outstanding leadership skills and experience, he was recruited to Brown in 2000 to serve as Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown, Director of Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine, Chief of Geriatrics at Lifespan, and The First Greer Professor of Geriatric Medicine. In his spare time, aside from attracting funding for a Hospital-Wide Palliative Care Program at RIH with Home and Hospice Care of RI, acquiring a 2 million dollar Grant to integrate age-related content throughout the Brown Medical School curriculum, creating a Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training to produce new Faculty Geriatricians, he was assigned the critical transition job as Interim Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences from 2002 to 2005.

He is a Past President of The American Geriatrics Society and Past Chair of its Board of Directors.

Please join me in congratulations to our 2012 ACP Awardee for his past accomplishments, his current contributions and our wishes for his future continuing fulfillment as URI's "Dr. Gerontology".

Download a PDF of Dr. Hamolsky's speech[PDF]

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