TMH doctor named to National Academy of Medicine
Prestigious honor bestowed upon Josiah "Jody" Rich, MD, researcher and advocate on HIV/AIDS, opioids issues
PROVIDENCE— Josiah “Jody” Rich, MD, an infectious disease physician and director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital, has been elected to the 2018 class of the National Academy of Medicine.
Election to the independent body is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the fields of health and medicine, in part because its members offer expert analysis and advice to the U.S. government and other policymakers. Rich is one of 85 members inducted into this year’s class for “outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service.”
“This is a well-deserved honor and a wonderful tribute to Dr. Rich’s devotion to improving the public health of disenfranchised groups,” said Arthur J. Sampson, president of The Miriam Hospital. “We are very proud of the success he has had as a researcher and advocate on such issues as the opioid epidemic and health disparities among prisoners. His is an important voice to be heard here in Rhode Island and in Washington on these critical matters.”
Said Rich, “I am deeply honored to have been elected and look forward to helping support the mission of the National Academy of Medicine. The Academy is an outstanding organization and now, more than ever, it is vital for scientists to have an effective and respected platform to help address the most pressing issues facing our nation’s leaders today.”
The academy, in its announcement, noted that Dr. Rich had been elected “for dedication in his medical and public health research career to improving the health and well-being of people in detention and incarceration, to substance users, and to health and well-being post release in communities in need.”
“I have strived to address HIV and other diseases among disadvantaged populations, and that led me to work with incarcerated and criminal justice involved populations,” said Rich. “That in turn opened my eyes to the clinical and public health challenges with this population. More recently I have been focusing my energies on trying to address the opioid crisis.”
Rich is recognized nationally as an expert on the opioid epidemic. He is the principal investigator for Rhode Island Hospital’s new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) on Opioids and Overdose, which was recently established with an $11.8 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Rich, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brown University, is also an expert advisor to the state’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. His research has focused in recent years on the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment for patients with opioid use disorder, particularly those who are in, and transitioning out of, the prison system. He served on a National Academy of Sciences committee examining the causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration and has addressed health disparities among those who have been in correctional systems.