Key UNMC administrator dies unexpectedly

Rubens Pamies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate studies, died Saturday morning at his sister's home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, of an apparent heart attack. He was 52.

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Rubens Pamies, M.D.
Dr. Pamies had served as UNMC's vice chancellor of academic affairs and dean for graduate studies for more than eight years.

A native of Haiti, Dr. Pamies' death was a shock to UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., and his wife, Beverly.

"He had so much more to contribute to health care and the greater community world," Dr. Maurer said. "He was a champion for great causes. He became a close and loyal friend and confidant. Beverly and I will miss him very much."

Dr. Maurer saluted Dr. Pamies for his work on numerous initiatives, including:

  • Initiating the first online pre-matriculation program for first-year medical students;
  • Founding the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance to attract minorities to health professions;
  • Promoting diversity and interprofessional education with the support of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and
  • Leading a comprehensive medical center relief effort in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that devastated Dr. Pamies' homeland.

Full obituary and comments

Read a full obituary of Dr. Pamies. Also, see comments about Dr. Pamies from UNMC community members and others.

One of Dr. Pamies' closest friends was Louis Sullivan, M.D., president emeritus of Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Pamies, he said, had a strong commitment to addressing the health needs of underserved.

"He worked tirelessly to accomplish that goal," said Dr. Sullivan, who worked with Dr. Pamies on the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance, a unique program that provides academic and research opportunities for minority students. "He was a very strong person with a big heart full of compassion for others."

Locally, Dr. Pamies worked closely with groups such as Building Bright Futures to identify educational opportunities for low income children and fight health care disparities in Douglas and Sarpy County.

A funeral service is tentatively being planned in New York City, but exact details have yet to be determined.


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Chad Jessup
August 21, 2011 at 9:12 PM

I just found out about Dr. Pamies! My heart goes out to his family. I wanted to share my brief but pivotal experience re: Dr. Pamies. I was from a disadvantaged background but I came to know Dr. Pamies through playing basketball with some residents at CWRU-SOM while I was pursuing research. After getting to know me, he suggested I try to pursue the MS degree to strengthen my application to medical school... I did and it worked out great...mainly due to his direction/support. I was later accepted to CWRU-SOM and now I am a practicing dermatopathologist at Brigham Women's in Boston. Not many people would have taken the time to extend themselves and to take a chance on a young kid like me...but he did. As the youngest of 9 children in my family and the first to graduate from college and medical school...I can say that I owe a lot of the latter to Dr. Pamies. He was a special man! I am so thankful for his vision of what I was to become! My condolences to your family! Sincerely and with much appreciation, Chad Jessup

Rick Rader, MD
March 04, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Rubens was a personal friend and honored colleague. He was a strong advocate for the healthcare needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. He especially opened up many doors for the recognition of the myriad problems of minorities with disabilities. Rick Rader, MD, Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry

Sasha Kabanov
March 01, 2011 at 8:38 AM

I am shocked by the horrible news of Dr. Pamies untimely and sudden death. Rubens was a wonderful person and a good friend. He was a very kind and compassionate man. This is an enormous loss for the Medical Center, as well as a personal loss. He will be remembered with love and gratitude.