University of Arizona Arthritis Center Co-founder and Former Director Eric P. Gall Remembered

Feb 26, 2020

Eric P. Gall, MD, MACP, MACR, co-founder and former director of the University of Arizona Arthritis Center and professor emeritus in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, passed away on Wednesday, February 26 at Banner – University Medical Center, Tucson. He was 79.

Dr. Gall is survived by his wife Kathy, daughter Gretchen (Alex Djukic), son Michael (Marita) and grandchildren Talia and Noah.

“Dr. Gall was a giant in the field of Rheumatology. Among his many accomplishments was the establishment of ‘Introduction to Clinical Medicine Physical Exam Experience in Rheumatic Disease,’ a groundbreaking program that allowed first year medical students to interact directly with patients with specific rheumatic diseases very early in their careers that has been disseminated to medical schools around country and around the world. An endowed lectureship was established in his name in recognition of his many contributions to rheumatology education. I owe a large debt of gratitude to Eric as he helped to recruit me to the University of Arizona. He was beloved by the many medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty that he mentored. We will certainly miss him.” said UArizona Arthritis Center Director and Rheumatology Division Chief C. Kent Kwoh, MD.

“I feel very honored to have met and worked with Dr. Gall. Not only was he a leader in Rheumatology and a gifted teacher, but also a caring physician who was loved by his patients. His contributions to the Department of Medicine and the Institution are many and are outstanding; he will be very much missed.” shared UArizona Department of Medicine Chair Monica Kraft, MD.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Gall earned his bachelor’s degree in Zoology with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and his medical doctorate from the same institution in 1966. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati in 1968 and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973.

A member of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson faculty for 27 years, Dr. Gall served as director of the UArizona Arthritis Center from 1985-1994 and again from 2010-2013. During his tenure at the UArizona, he also served as professor of medicine and chief of the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology, and held cross-appointments in the departments of family and community medicine and orthopaedic surgery. He also held the Charles A. L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Endowed Chair in Rheumatology. Before his return to the UArizona in 2010, Dr. Gall served as chair of the department of medicine at the Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology and as a professor in the School of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin from 1994-2009. He was named as professor emeritus at the Chicago Medical School in 2010. Dr. Gall retired from the University of Arizona in December 2016 and was named Emeritus Professor of Medicine in the UArizona College of Medicine in March 2017.

'Yesterday the University of Arizona Arthritis Center lost a great leader and the Co-Founder of the Arthritis Center. All whose paths crossed Eric’s will share in the deep loss of a warm, engaging friend, a devoted and deeply caring physician, a story teller offering many previously shared stories, and a loving husband, father and grandfather.  Yes Eric, you will be remembered and revered for the sunshine and good cheer you offered to all in our own individual lives.' expressed Robert G. Volz, MD, Co-Founder, the University of Arizona Arthritis Center.

Dr. Gall’s major research interests were in new treatments for arthritis, the development of arthritis, metabolic bone disease, hypermobility disorders, curriculum and teaching methodology, and hemophilic arthritis. He was a national expert and served on numerous committees addressing medical school curriculum, public health and advocacy, and rheumatology instruction and training.

He was a founding member of the American College of Rheumatology, where he also served as a member of its Board of Directors. Noted for his activity in many professional societies, he served as president of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, a division of the American College of Rheumatology. He was also chair of the Public Health Committee for the Arthritis Foundation.

He was the author of numerous articles on rheumatology, including many in Arthritis and Rheumatism, The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, and American Family Physician. He was also the author of three books: Rheumatic Disease: Rehabilitation and Management; The Examination of the Musculoskeletal System; and Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Illustrated Guide to Pathology, Diagnosis and Management.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Gall mentored more than 50 fellows, and numerous residents and medical students during his career. He was the founder of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson Rheumatology Training Program. He also was instrumental the University of Arizona being awarded one of the first Multi-Purpose Arthritis Centers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, he served as Chairman of the UA Comprehensive Curriculum Analysis and Planning Project whose work resulted in the rollout of a new medical school curriculum in the mid-1990's. His NIH-funded research in medical education led to the use of patients with arthritis as teachers to students and physicians conducting evaluation of rheumatic illnesses. This type of education continues to be used at the University of Arizona and throughout the country. He served on numerous master’s and PhD thesis defense committees, all with successful outcomes.

A bronze star awardee for his service in Vietnam, Dr. Gall won many awards over the years. He was named master in the American College of Physicians in 2005 and master in the American College of Rheumatology in the same year. He had been named by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America from 2001 until his retirement in 2016. In 2012, Dr. Gall was honored with the Arthritis Foundation’s top honor, the Freedom of Movement Award by the Heartland Region.

Known for his excellence in clinical care, research, creative teaching techniques and steadfast commitment to his patients, students, and all those he came in contact with, Dr. Gall’s memory will live on in the many, many lives he touched. Never without a humorous story or anecdote, he could truly light up a room with his presence. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, colleague and friend, Dr. Gall rarely met a stranger. His quick wit was matched only by his generous spirit. A physician who always put his patients first, he will never be forgotten by those whose lives he impacted.

A funeral mass and memorial services will be held in August 2020.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Eric P. Gall, MD Endowed Lectureship at the University of Arizona Arthritis Center.