Friday, 19 Jan 2018

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Dr. H. Ralph Schumacher (1933-2017)

Dr. H. Ralph Schumacher passed away from ALS in July 30, 2017. The current issues of The Rheumatologist  and the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology have beautiful tributes written by Dr. Simon Helfgott and past ACR president Dr. Joan VonFeldt on the passing of a giant in rheumatology. (Citation source  

You should read these pieces to capture the expanse of his medical pedigree, the range of influences and the impact Ralph had on many in his long and distguished career in rheumatology.

What I know about Ralph begins during my fellowship when I first listened and learned from him as he taught a room full of Rheumatology fellows on gout, and more specificially, on the use of the polarizing microscope in synovial fluid crystal analysis. He was detailed, method-driven and amazingly enthusiastic and demanding - all over these refractile diagnostic flecks of light!

Ralph was a teacher, academician, researcher and leader in our community.  He may be best known for his work in gout, crystals and clinical trials but for many he was their mentor in his role as Chief of Rheumatology at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center.  For others he was the thoughtful, guiding hand as the innaugural and long-time Editor of the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

What I will remember most about Ralph was his committment to do the right thing, take no shortcuts, answer the tough questions with the right answer and either perservere, stay the path or get out of the way. He was pensive and determined and lived up to the task of being a leader amongst men.

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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