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Obituary: Professor Pedro Ruiz (1936-2023)


Professor Pedro Ruiz

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Professor Pedro Ruiz, MD, who left us on the 14th of March 2023, 14 in League City, Texas, USA at the age of 86. Dr. Ruiz was a renowned psychiatrist, educator, and researcher who made significant contributions to the field of mental health throughout his distinguished career.


As one of World Psychiatric Association’s (WPA) former President (2011-2014), the news of Professor Pedro Ruiz has come as a great shock and with huge sadness to WPA, his family, friends, colleagues and members of the psychiatric fraternity.


Aside from his presidency with WPA, Dr. Pedro Ruiz was professor & Executive Vice Chair as well as Director of Clinical Programs at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Born in Cuba, Dr Ruiz completed his medical school education at the University of Paris in France. Subsequently, he conducted his graduate training in general psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.


Thereafter, he joined the faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City where he rose from instructor to Professor of Psychiatry. In this academic institution he occupied a series of administrative and academic positions, such as, Director of the Lincoln Hospital Community Mental Health Center (1969-1977), Assistant Dean (1977-1979), Director of Bronx Psychiatric Center (1979-1981) and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry (1979-1981).


Dr Ruiz was also tenured Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine (1981-1993) and at the University of Texas at Houston (1993-2010), where he also was Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr Ruiz has also been President of the American Psychiatric Association (2006-2007), the American College of Psychiatrists (2000-2001), the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (2002-2003) and the American Association of Social Psychiatry (2000-2002), to name a few.


Over the span of his career, Dr. Ruiz served on more than 40 editorial boards, sat on countless National and International Committees and authored more than 1000 publications, most notably “Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook” and the Ninth and Tenth editions of “Kaplan & Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry”. His accomplishments, awards and recognition are too many to list.


In an excerpt from the journal, “The Psychiatrist”, first published in 2011, Pedro shared how he would like to be remembered, stating “As a physician/psychiatrist who cared not only for those with illnesses, including mental illness, but also cared for the most disadvantaged and poorest individuals across the world.” I think we can all agree, he accomplished this goal with abundance.


On behalf of myself and WPA, we would like to offer our sincere condolences not only to his colleagues, but especially to his family and friends for whom we recognise this great loss. His contributions to the field of psychiatry will be remembered and celebrated for years to come.


Rest in peace Professor Pedro Ruiz.


Services in Miami will be held on March 25, 2023, at Memorial Plan Westchester funeral home located at 9800 SW 24th St., Miami, Fl 33165. Visitation will take place at 11am followed by a service at 12:00pm, burial will follow at Our lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery in Doral, Fl


You can read a full obituary by James Crowder Funeral Homes here.


Author: Dr. Afzal Javed, President, WPA

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2 Comments


What a remarkable life and career! His leadership in various prestigious organizations speaks volumes about his dedication to the field of psychiatry. The build now gg quote about how he wanted to be remembered is so touching.

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