Passing of Dr. Roland W. Moskowitz

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Roland W. Moskowitz, MD, MS, a beloved member of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine family and a world-renowned authority and researcher in osteoarthritis. Dr. Moskowitz was a tenured professor in the Department of Medicine here at CWRU since 1977 and was appointed emeritus professor of medicine in 2010.

At 88, he saw patients up to a few weeks before his death—testimony to his lifelong dedication to our profession and those he cared for.

In addition to tending to patients with unmatched compassion and expertise, Dr. Moskowitz was a pioneer in the research and treatment of osteoarthritis. Among his many contributions to advancing human health, in 1990 he received international acclaim for his research linking osteoarthritis to a defective collagen gene. His findings were published in more than 225 articles and he served as the author and editor of ten textbooks, including co-writing the first text on soft tissue rheumatic diseases. An outstanding mentor, he supported numerous young and not-so-young people in their career growth.

Dr. Moskowitz was much-loved for his good humor and memorable stories. Here’s one of my favorites: One day he checked in for a flight at Cleveland-Hopkins and told the airline attendant that he had three bags and wanted the first to go to New York, the second to San Francisco, and the third to Dallas. The agent was confused and said "I'm sorry, Dr. Moskowitz, but we can't do that, as you're travelling to Boston." Dr. Moskowitz replied, "Why not? You did it to me last week when I was going to Atlanta."

Following graduation from Temple University School of Medicine and training in rheumatology and internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Moskowitz joined the medicine faculty at Temple before moving here to CWRU, where he was a superb division chief for many years.

Dr. Moskowitz served in a variety of professional leadership capacities, including the board of trustees of the American College of Rheumatology, the board of trustees of the National Arthritis Foundation, and the advisory council of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. He was director of the Rheumatology Clinical Research Unit of the Division of Rheumatology at UH Cleveland Medical Center and an inductee of the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame. In 2000 he received the President's Gold Medal Award from the American College of Rheumatology for his contributions as a researcher, educator, and clinician. In 2005 he was presented with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arthritis Foundation. In 2011, in his ninth decade, he discussed rheumatoid arthritis on ABC News, offering hope and inspiration to patients in his inimitable style.

We salute Dr. Moskowitz’s memory with great affection and respect. I know you join me in offering condolences to his family and many friends and colleagues.


Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD
Dean, School of Medicine
Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Case Western Reserve University
Arline and Curtis Garvin Research Professor
2109 Adelbert Road, BRB 113
Cleveland, OH 44106