Message from the Chair

Robbins, Richard
Richard Robbins, MD, FACP
Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

Welcome to the Department of Medicine! Houston Methodist Hospital is a large academic medical center which has trained Internal Medicine residents for over 50 years. After changing medical school affiliations in 2004, the educational mission was rebuilt from the ground up. We recruited over 90 full-time faculty members, who were selected largely on their records of teaching excellence. An entirely new categorical Internal Medicine Residency was established in 2007. Ten subspecialty fellowship training programs are now active. In the summer of 2016, Houston Methodist Hospital was named to the US News and World Report Honor Roll which includes the top 20 academic medical centers in America. Most full-time and voluntary teaching attendings hold faculty appointments at our Institute for Academic Medicine and with our primary academic affiliate, Weill Cornell Medicine. We have a large number of rotating medical students who come from Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas Medical Branch.


In this climate of rapidly changing themes and priorities emanating from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the faculty and residents work in close collaboration to make the educational experience meaningful, rigorous and education-oriented. In designing this new IM residency, we were able to introduce innovative and modern approaches to residency education.  These include frequent town hall meetings with the chief residents to discuss what is working and what needs change; a virtual private practice continuity clinic where residents learn about clinic operations, managing clinic employees, and financing of an internal medicine practice. We also have sessions about reimbursement from private and federal payers; and a core curriculum which includes topics such as ethical dilemmas, legal aspects of medicine, palliative care, nutrition, and communicative skills.


We focus on a comprehensive core residency with flexibility that enables each resident to custom tailor their educational program to future needs. Since 2007, we have graduated more than 80 residents who have gone on to subspecialty fellowship, general internal medicine practice, or hospitalist medicine. Our residents have achieved fellowships at some of the most prestigious medical centers in the US, including our own hospital. We now have a robust menu of fellowships at Houston Methodist, including cardiology, endocrinology/diabetes, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology, nephrology and pulmonary/critical care medicine. Houston Methodist has rapidly developed into one of the country’s safest hospitals due in large part to a large and well-supported network of patient safety and quality committees. Residents have been directly involved with designing and carrying out clinical studies within the quality committees. For example, they have helped dramatically reduce death rates from sepsis, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli. They have also helped reduce central line infections in the ICUs and improved glycemic control for diabetic patients.  All residents participate in patient safety and quality education, whether by completing the IHI Basic Certification in Quality and Patient Safety during their PGY-1 year or participating in quality committees during their PGY-2 and PGY-3 years.


The Department of Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital currently has over 600 attending staff physicians encompassing every subspecialty of internal medicine, including emergency medicine and dermatology. Houston Methodist Hospital has been consistently ranked as one of America’s safest hospitals. In fact, Houston Methodist was recently awarded the coveted Birnbaum Quality Award by Vizient and named the #1 best hospital in Texas by US News and World Report. Our hospital has also been praised for patient care and safety by the Leapfrog Group and Thompson Reuters.


I encourage you to take a close look at our program which focuses on producing leaders who will shape the future of internal medicine.

Rich Robbins, MD, FACP

About Rich Robbins, MD, FACP

Dr. Robbins received his medical degree from Creighton University and completed his medical residency at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He was a research fellow at the Rockefeller University and did his endocrine fellowship at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston. He has held faculty positions at the University of Colorado and Yale University. At Yale, Dr. Robbins served as chair of the Yale Medical School Council, and director of Pathophysiology and Introduction to Clinical Medicine for second-year medical students.


Dr. Robbins is the chair of the Department of Medicine and the Charles and Anne Duncan Presidential Distinguished Chair at Houston Methodist Hospital. He is professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine. He is also adjunct professor of medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine and a senior member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. He previously served as chief of the Endocrine Service and associate chair of the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Robbins is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Medicine. He was president and founder of The Pituitary Society.


Dr. Robbins has served on internal medicine training programs since 1981, served as the program director of the Cornell Affiliated Endocrine Fellowship for ten years, and established the categorical Internal Medicine Residency at Houston Methodist in 2007. Dr. Robbins has more than 120 peer-reviewed publications in leading biomedical journals. He has been the principal investigator on many NIH and private basic science research grants, and has been an investigator on more than 25 clinical trials.
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