Chair of medicine becomes dean in Ohio

Search begins for replacement as Horwitz takes the reins at Case Western's medical school.

Ralph Horwitz
Ralph Horwitz
Robert A. Lisak

Ralph I. Horwitz, M.D., FW ’77, a leader in the field of clinical investigation and chair of Department of Internal Medicine at Yale since 1994, has moved to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to head its medical school.

Horwitz also heads the new Case Research Institute, a joint project of the Case Western Reserve University and the University Hospitals Health System, and he is overseeing the establishment of a new M.D. program at the School of Medicine to train physician investigators. The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine—born of an alliance between Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation—will offer a five-year curriculum emphasizing clinical research. An inaugural class of 30 students will begin its studies in 2004.

Horwitz, who assumed the deanship of the 160-year-old medical school April 1, said he will be guided by “a powerful commitment to integrating public health into clinical medicine.” He plans to reshape the curriculum at Case Western Reserve medical school, which graduates 140 students each year. “I want to balance the biology of disease with the context of illness, to give priority to both the care of the individual patient as well as the health of the public.” He plans to foster research “that cuts across the spectrum from fundamental biology on the one hand to the most integrated patient-based clinical research on the other.”

Horwitz said his greatest satisfaction during 25 years at Yale derived from co-directing the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, which trains physicians to conduct and evaluate patient-based research. Horwitz said the roughly 100 graduates of Yale’s program have had “an enormous impact” in establishing the field of patient-oriented research. Horwitz’s legacy to the department “will be compassion and rigor in the care of our patients, a spirit of vigorous scientific inquiry, and service to the larger community,” said David L. Coleman, M.D., HS ’80, chief of the medical service at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and acting chair of medicine.

Horwitz’s wife, Sarah M. Horwitz, Ph.D., also has a new job. Formerly an associate professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale, she is now a professor of psychiatry at Case Western.

The Horwitzes’ journey west has historic parallels. Connecticut pioneers led by David Hudson settled in the Connecticut Western Reserve in 1799. Connecticut had claimed the Reserve, a tract in what is now northeastern Ohio, after the Revolution. Hudson helped found Western Reserve College in 1826. Modeled on Yale, it became known as “the Yale of the West”: many early professors hailed from Old Blue, as did its second president, the Rev. George E. Pierce. It was Pierce who started the College of Medicine of Western Reserve College in Cleveland.

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Ralph Horwitz

Professor Emeritus of Medicine (General Medicine)

David Coleman

Professor Emeritus of Medicine