Richard S. Irwin, MD, the 2013 recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Clinical Excellence, is professor of medicine, professor of nursing and chair of Critical Care Operations at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the UMASS Memorial Medical Center.
An accomplished, intellectually curious, highly respected master clinician, Dr. Irwin received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and attained his postgraduate medical residency training at Tufts-New England Medical Center and his pulmonary fellowship training at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. He has spent the greater part of his academic career at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he had been chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine for 28 years before retiring from this role to assume his present positions.
Known as “the world’s foremost authority on the diagnosis and treatment of the symptom cough,” Dr. Irwin’s major research interests include the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of cough; health-related quality of life; difficult to control asthma; gastrointestinal-respiratory system interactions; and health care utilization in the intensive care unit. He has authored 174 peer-reviewed original articles, 282 textbook chapters and 34 editorials, and edited 48 books/monographs.
Dr. Irwin has served the American College of Chest Physicians in many leadership roles, including the presidency, and currently is editor-in-chief of the journal CHEST. In 2009, for “distinguishing himself by achieving national and international professional prominence due to his personal character, leadership, eminence in clinical practice, contributions to medical research and years of outstanding service to the American College of Chest Physicians,” the society conferred upon Dr. Irwin the honorary title of Master Fellow, an honor bestowed only 26 times since the beginning of the society in 1935.
Dr. Irwin is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and honors, including being consistently selected by his peers to be listed annually in the Best Doctors in America, America's Top Doctors and America’s Top Physicians. He has been described by his patients as “the very model of a physician… one that every doctor should try to emulate: professional, compassionate and caring.” He is the epitome of one who wears the white coat with dignity while recognizing the privilege of doing so.