Eugene Schiff, M.D., Named First Al-Rashid Chair of Hepatology

Surrounded by friends, colleagues, and University of Miami leadership, Eugene R. Schiff, M.D., became the first holder of the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in the Division of Hepatology and the UM Center for Liver Diseases at a May 25 ceremony on the medical campus.

UM President Donna E. Shalala called attention to Dr. Schiff’s long dedication to treating and researching liver disease and public health, noting that she had appointed him to the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability in 1997 when she was secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For his part, UM Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., described Dr. Schiff as a physician who “embodies the best in medicine.” Dean Goldschmidt further explained that Dr. Schiff, along with his father, literally wrote the book on liver disease, with the 11th edition of Schiff’s Diseases of the Liver currently in publication.

The endowed chair was made possible by generous support from international philanthropist Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid, Ph.D. President Shalala noted that great institutions seek endowed chairs to honor and support best-in-class physicians and researchers and bring great benefits to patients. “Visionary supporters like Dr. Al-Rashid understand the importance of endowments. Gifts like these mean we can keep attracting and retaining the best of the best year after year.”

Fahad Al-Rashid, a 2005 UM alumnus, represented the Al-Rashid family at the ceremony. Explaining his father’s strategy in identifying organizations to support, Al-Rashid said the family’s mission is to “seek out exceptional institutions that have potential to reach the most people. Few organizations fill this role as completely as UM. But exceptional organizations cannot exist without exceptional people,” Al-Rashid said, introducing Dr. Schiff.

With typical humility, Dr. Schiff urged guests, who had risen to their feet in applause, to “please sit down” as he thanked his family for their support, his parents for his good genes, and the University of Miami for recruiting him some 40 years ago. Dr. Schiff accepted the honor on behalf of the many staff members, nurses, and fellow physicians he has worked with over the years. “This recognition is not for what I did,” he said; “it is for what we all do together. My acceptance is merely symbolic as this award belongs to many.”

Thanking the Al-Rashid family, Dr. Schiff noted that he is honored to have the Al-Rashid name forever linked to his own and to his work. “The Al-Rashids are true philanthropists, and I am blessed to be one of the recipients of their generosity.”

Dr. Schiff is director of the Center for Liver Diseases, Leonard Miller Professor of Medicine, and former chief of the Division of Hepatology. He has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles, books, and book chapters on liver diseases and related topics, was a member of the Gastroenterology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and received the Florida Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians and the Distinguished Service Award of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. He is also the past president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, past chairman of the Biliary Section of the American Gastroenterological Association, and former chair of the FDA Advisory Committee on Gastrointestinal Drugs.

In addition to the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in the Division of Hepatology and the UM Center for Liver Diseases, the Al-Rashid family has also endowed the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in Ophthalmic Plastic, Orbital Surgery, and Oncology held by David Tse, M.D., professor of ophthalmology. With the addition of the Al-Rashid chair in hepatology, the Miller School is currently home to 30 such endowments.

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