Richard M. Schwartzstein, MD, Named Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Jacqueline Mitchell (BIDMC Communications) 617-667-7306,

JUNE 01, 2019

Richard SchwartzsteinBOSTON – Richard M. Schwartzstein, MD, has been named Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Schwartzstein assumes this leadership role after 33 years in the Division, including 14 years as Associate Chief.

“Dr. Schwartzstein is a highly accomplished clinician, clinical investigator and educational innovator with a national and international reputation,” said Mark Zeidel, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at BIDMC. “In addition to his clinical responsibilities and highly successful research program, Dr. Schwartzstein has made major contributions to the field of medical education. Under his direction, BIDMC has become a true leader in medical education, as well as a model for academic medical centers and teaching hospitals training the next generation of physicians.” 

As a clinician-researcher, Schwartzstein investigates the biology of dyspnea – the unpleasant awareness of the need to breathe, sometimes known as air hunger or shortness of breath. Schwartzstein and colleagues developed and validated the Multidimensional Dyspnea Profile to assess overall breathing discomfort and emotional responses to air hunger. A teacher of physiology and pathophysiology for more than 20 years at HMS, Schwartzstein is the recipient of multiple national teaching awards. He is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, and his textbook, Respiratory Physiology: A Clinical Approach, received the 2006 Dr. Frank H. Netter Award for Special Contributions to Medical Education for its interactive style.

In addition to his clinical and research activities, Schwartzstein has also worked to enhance BIDMC’s reputation as a leading center of medical education, while elevating the status of medical educators as a professional group. Schwartzstein has served as Vice President for Education and Executive Director of the Shapiro Institute for Medical Education since 2004. He will continue to serve in these roles. The Shapiro Institute develops talent among clinician educators through its Rabkin Fellowships and has provided a model for the Academies of Medical Education at medical schools and other hospitals nationally and internationally.

“I am honored to lead the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in this new role,” said Schwartzstein, who is also the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “With a wonderful mix in the division of bright young clinicians, researchers and educators along with seasoned colleagues committed to innovative approaches to basic science, translational research and clinical care, the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is poised to make significant contributions to the health of our patients and the growth and development of our trainees.”

Schwartzstein’s education research focuses on the development of pedagogical approaches to enhance analytical reasoning, techniques to maximize the benefits of small group teaching, and assessment of the role of simulation in medical education. For nine years, Schwartzstein directed the Academy at HMS, an arm of the medical school committed to fostering the field of medical education. He also led the steering committee for the medical school’s new curriculum, implemented four years ago. 

Schwartzstein earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and trained at what was then Beth Israel Hospital, ultimately serving as chief medical resident. He completed his training in the then-combined program between the Brigham and Women’s and Beth Israel Hospitals in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.  Prior to the official recognition of the discipline known as Emergency Medicine, Schwartzstein directed the emergency department at the former Beth Israel Hospital, ultimately transforming it into a division of the Department of Medicine before it became an independent department. 

Schwartzstein succeeds J. Woodrow Weiss, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who was appointed Chief of the Division in 1999.

“We are enormously grateful to Dr. Weiss who has done an outstanding job running the division for 20 years, developing its clinical, research and teaching programs, and helping faculty advance their careers,” said Zeidel. “I sincerely thank Dr. Weiss for his superb service to our faculty and their patients, and to the department and the hospital.”

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.