Richard G. Farmer, MD, MS, MACP, MACG (Staff’62), is the recipient of the 2022 Alumni Association Special Achievement Award, which recognizes physicians or scientists for exceptional, enduring achievements and leadership that have brought pride and recognition to Cleveland Clinic’s community.
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Dr. Farmer was on staff at Cleveland Clinic for 30 years, including serving as Chief of Gastroenterology for 10 years and Chair of Medicine for 16 years. In 2003, he joined the faculty of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., a position he held for 12 years. He then went on to become professor and Chief of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. Today, he is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Dr. Farmer is widely known, nationally and internationally, for his many significant roles and achievements. These include serving as President of the American College of Gastroenterology, where he subsequently received a lifetime achievement award of Mastership, and developing continuing medical education programs in Russia and Eastern Europe as a consultant for the U.S. State Department and private sector grants. He also was Medical Director of the Eurasian Medical Education Program, which is a joint collaboration with the American College of Physicians, and has published more than 250 journal articles primarily focusing on inflammatory bowel disease.
In 1977, Dr. Farmer was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the National Commission on Digestive Diseases, which developed the Digestive Disease Institute at the National Institute of Health. In 1983, he was elected for life to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and in 1998, he received a Jubilee Medal from Charles University, Prague, for his contributions to health in the Czech Republic. He also was President of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine and subsequently received the Founder’s Award for “striving for excellence in medical education.”
Dr. Farmer and Dr. Tom Gretter giving a tribute to Dr. DeWolfe at the Staff Dinner in 1983.
Born in Indiana, Dr. Farmer attended Indiana University. He earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland and Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota, and he trained in gastroenterology and internal medicine at Milwaukee County Hospital and Mayo Clinic. He also served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps.
“Dr. Farmer’s accomplishments have been amazing and many,” says Richard Lang, MD, MPH (IM’82), Alumni Association Board President. “Even more remarkable has been that as he has pursued these multiple ‘careers,’ he has done so while enthusiastically enjoying hobbies of photography and playing basketball, and has been a devoted husband and father.”