Richard W. Pretorius, M.D., M.P.H., will become professor and chair of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine effective Nov. 1. Pretorius currently serves as associate professor of family medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
An Ohio native, Pretorius was born in Akron but relocated to Dayton with his family and graduated from Fairview High School. He received his undergraduate training in biology and chemistry at Wittenberg University, earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia and returned to Ohio to complete a residency program in family medicine at Case Western Reserve University. He later received his master of public health degree in health services administration from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Following his residency program, Pretorius practiced for several years as a family physician in rural Iowa, in part through an affiliation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Health Service Corps. He also worked with the University of Iowa College of Medicine for some 13 years, first as a medical student preceptor and then as a clinical faculty member. His rural medicine and clinical teaching appointments included terms as a high school team physician, EMS instructor, county coroner and care provider in adult disability and indigent clinics. He also served as medical director of two nursing homes, a mental health center, a rehabilitation center, a chronic fatigue clinic and hospice and home visit programs.
In 2004, he relocated to New York to accept a role as associate professor of family medicine and department vice chair for medical student education at SUNY Buffalo. During his time there, he served on several university committees and councils, contributed to the department's Family Medicine Research Institute and Primary Care Research Forum, and was founder and director of the Medical Education Teaching and Research Innovation Center.
"It is a privilege to return to the neighborhood of my youth," Pretorius said of his new appointment, "and to work with Good Samaritan Hospital in serving northwest Dayton, as well as all of the Miami Valley.
"The Boonshoft School of Medicine is one of the premier medical schools in the country," he added. "In addition to being ranked fourth nationally for its social mission this year, for more than two decades (through 2008) it also ranked fourth in the nation for the percent of its graduates entering the specialty of family medicine."
Pretorius has taught, developed or directed a wide variety of courses for medical students and resident physicians, and he has led efforts to revitalize teaching and training programs. In one case, he instituted curriculum upgrades based on national standards that led to a significant increase in the percentage of students passing a national license exam. Pretorius has garnered numerous awards for his educational work, including the prestigious Innovation Award in Medical Education from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2009. He is also active in medical education and training research and has earned substantial external funding to support his efforts, including more than $1 million in HHS grants over the past decade. He publishes and presents extensively in the areas of medical education, rural medicine and family medicine. His work has appeared in numerous professional journals and textbooks, and he has presented at conferences throughout North America.