Passing of Dr. Robert W. Schrier, Former Chair of MedicineDepartment of Medicine Jan 25, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert W. Schrier, MD. Dr. Schrier was the past Chair of the Department of Medicine for 26 years, from 1976 to 2002 as well as the Head of the Division of Nephrology from 1972 to 1992.
Dr. Schrier was a devoted husband to Barbara for over 50 years and a loving father to five children. He was also a great friend to many in the University of Colorado community and to others throughout the world. Dr. Schrier was recruited from the University of California in San Francisco to direct a nascent three member Division of Renal Diseases.
With his now legendary vigor and determination, he transformed it into a more than 20 faculty section that became one of the leading Nephrology Divisions in the country, long recognized for excellence in patient care, as well as for its contributions to basic and clinical research. The Division has remained to this day a prized division in the School of Medicine.
In 1976, he directed much of his energy and creativity to bring about a similar transformation of the Department of Medicine as its Chair. The recruitment of nine outstanding Division Heads along with an enormous increase in research funding and a renewed emphasis on house staff and medical student education, made the Department of Medicine one of the most venerated departments in the country. This was recognized by his colleagues in the American Professors of Medicine (APM), who bestowed on him the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award that honors the Outstanding Chairman of Medicine in the country.
He accomplished all this while also assuming other leadership roles. He is the only person ever to have been the President of the American Society of Nephrology, the International Society of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation. He also served as President of the Association of American Physicians and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
In addition to these remarkable achievements, he concomitantly directed a very active research program with continuous multi-grant NIH funding for over 40 years, reflected in more than 1000 publications. Dr. Schrier had numerous and significant research contributions in different areas of Nephrology, including acute kidney injury, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetic kidney disease and hormonal control of fluid and electrolytes in cirrhosis, heart failure, nephrotic syndrome and pregnancy.
His three volume textbook, Diseases of the Kidney and Urinary Tract, now in its 9th edition, has been a premier textbook of Nephrology throughout the world. Dr. Schrier’s most enduring legacy may be in the more than 100 Fellows he mentored, who now occupy leadership positions and care for patients with Kidney disease throughout the United States and in every continent.
Dr. Schrier was an inspiring teacher, mentor and friend. He died at his home in Potomac, Maryland on January 23, 2021 surrounded by his wife Barbara, all of his children and many of his grandchildren. He clearly leaves a void and he will be deeply mourned by all those whose lives and careers he has touched.