Dr. Josiah D. Rich, who is known for his research on infectious diseases and addictions, will be the speaker for The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ graduation ceremony Friday, May 25, at 2 p.m. at Stranahan Theater.
A total of 200 degrees will be awarded: 161 doctor of medicine degrees, nine doctor of philosophy degrees, 25 master’s degrees, and five graduate certificates.Rich will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.
“It is an honor to have Dr. Rich address our graduates,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “Dr. Rich was selected by a committee of medical students and faculty from a national pool in recognition of his efforts to improve health care and his work related to addiction, especially as it relates to the national opiate epidemic.”
Rich is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence. He also is a practicing infectious disease specialist at the Miriam Hospital and at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, caring for prisoners with HIV Infection and other diseases since 1994.
An expert in the care and prevention of disease in addicted and incarcerated individuals, Rich’s research looks at the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and co-morbid conditions, especially among these populations. He has had continuous federal research funding for more than two decades and has published nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications.
Rich is the director and co-founder of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at the Miriam Hospital. He is also the co-founder of the Nationwide Centers for AIDS Research Collaboration in HIV in Corrections initiative. Rich has advocated for public health policy changes to help people with addiction; this includes improving legal access to sterile syringes and increasing drug treatment for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations.
In 2015, Rhode Island’s Gov. Gina Raimondo appointed Rich as an expert adviser to the Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, charged with formulating a strategic plan to address addiction and stop overdose deaths in Rhode Island. He also has served as an expert for the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.
In April, Rich spoke about the opioid crisis in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. And on May 8, he testified for the House Committee on the Judiciary’s hearing titled “Challenges and Solutions in the Opioid Crisis.”