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Roscoe R. Robinson

Vice Chancellor Roscoe R. Robinson's personal interest in and appreciation of the importance for scholarship of an accessible, broad medical historical resource is evident from the enormous growth of the Historical Collection of the Eskind Biomedical Library at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His support has made possible greatly increased numbers of highly significant, rare classic items during recent years. As an example, in the subject of his medical preeminence, nephrology, the extensive historical collection now includes a rich series of the publications of one of its true founders, Richard Bright (1789-1858). To be underscored, however, is that Dr. Robinson's concern has been equally generous for the history of other specialties as for that of his own.

It is most appropriate that the history of nephrology collection in the Eskind Biomedical Library of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center be named "The Roscoe R. Robinson Collection in the History of Nephrology." Dr. Robinson is trained in nephrology and has made many contributions to this field both directly and indirectly.

Roscoe R. "Ike" Robinson, a 1954 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, received his early training in nephrology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. After further training at Duke University Medical Center, he entered military service with the U.S. Air Force in 1958 and was chief of the renal unit at Wilford Hall U.S.A.F. Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After discharge from the Air Force, Dr. Robinson returned to Duke where he was an associate in medicine and a clinical investigator at the affiliated Veterans Administration Hospital. He was made director of the Division of Nephrology at Duke in 1962 and served in this capacity through 1980. While at Duke, he continued to advance up the academic ladder and in 1978 was appointed Florence McAlister Professor of Medicine. During 1976-1981, he served as Associate Vice-president of Duke University Medical Center and Chief Executive Officer of the Duke University Hospitals.

In 1981, Dr. Robinson was appointed Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs and Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. At Vanderbilt Dr. Robinson has continued his participation in nephrology activities and most importantly has encouraged the development of strong, nationally known divisions of nephrology in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Robinson serves or has served in many capacities related to the discipline of nephrology. He has served on the Medical Advisory Board of the Kidney Foundation for North Carolina, on the Artificial Kidney-Chronic Uremia Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health, and on the Council for End-Stage Renal Disease for Region 21 of the United States. He was appointed Chairman for the Intersociety Planning Committee for Kidney Reasearch in 1980. He has served on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. In addition, he has served on a variety of other advisory committees concerned with kidney disease.

Dr. Robinson has been active in various professional societies in nephrology. For example, he has long been a member of the International Society of Nephrology and the American Society of Nephrology and served as this society's president in 1981-82. His memberships have included the European Dialysis Transplant Association, and the Kidney Foundation of North Carolina. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation; he was president of the International Society of Nephrology from 1990-1993.

Dr. Robinson was the founding editor of Kidney International; he has written the sections on kideny disease for Cecil's Textbook of Medicine; he was on the editorial board for Seminars in Nephrology and was a member of the editorial board of Prevention of Kidney and Urinary Tract Disease.

In 1991, Dr. Robinson received the prestigious John P. Peters Award of the American Society of Nephrology.

He is active in the community and a member of the board of directors of several important organizations. In addition, he plays active and important roles in university activities outside of the Medical Center.

Dr. Robinson is the author of some 139 primary publications in the medical literature, virtually all of which are related to renal physiology and renal disease. Many represent pioneer contributions.

In 1996 The Ann and Roscoe R. Robinson Chair in Nephrology was established and endowed by colleagues and friends of Dr. and Mrs. Robinson. It was established to honor Dr. Robinson for his leadership of and contributions to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and to the discipline of nephrology.

The December 1996 issue of Kidney International: Official Journal of the International Society of Nephrology (50, suppl. 57: s-1-114, 1996) is a festschrift to Dr. Robinson.

The Roscoe R. Robinson Collection in the History of Nephrology spans a wide spectrum of titles. At this time it numbers 200 titles. Among the most valuable portions of the collection are the titles relating to Dr. Richard Bright (1789-1858), whom Dr. Robinson has long admired. The Library is grateful for the support of many who have contributed to the Collection.

It is hoped that this publication of the titles in the Roscoe R. Robinson Collection in the History of Nephrology will prove of value to medical scholars with interests in nephrology and related areas. We shall be pleased if it also stimulates others to enrich the histories of their medical specialties.

Harris D. Riley, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Note: Dr. Roscoe Robinson passed away August 7, 2004.