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NYMC Mourns the Death of Two Former Leaders

Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D. (1938 – 2021) and Richard K. Stone, M.D. ’68 (1943 – 2021)

January 10, 2022
Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D. (1938 – 2021) and Richard K. Stone, M.D. ’68 (1943 – 2021)

Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D., January 26, 1938 – December 21, 2021

Ralph A. O’Connell, M.D., provost of NYMC and dean of the SOM, familiarly known as “Tony” to many, served as NYMC’s chief academic officer for nearly two decades. A psychiatrist by training, Dr. O’Connell joined the NYMC faculty in 1980 after serving as associate professor of psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College.

He received his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1963. During his time at Cornell, he completed a fellowship at Oxford University Medical College to study blood clotting mechanisms. Dr. O’Connell completed a surgical internship and psychiatric residency at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, where he was also chief resident.

He served as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps and chief of neuropsychiatry at Ireland Army Hospital in Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Following his residency, he served as vice chair and clinical director of psychiatry at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center which was NYMC’s academic medical center in New York City at the time.  

Dr. O’Connell published extensively including a paper, “Role of Inhibitors of Fibrinolysis in Hepatic Cirrhosis,” which appeared in The Lancet in 1964, when he was a surgical intern. His research included studies on the psychiatric complications of cardiac surgery, the influence of biological and psychological social factors in the long-term outcomes of bipolar disorder, and the use of single photon emission computed tomography brain imaging in psychiatric disorders. He served as the editor-in-chief of Comprehensive Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Psychopathological Association.

Dr. O’Connell was a member and president of the Associated Medical Schools of New York, president of the New York Psychiatric Society, member of the American Medical Association, distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, fellow and trustee emeritus of the New York Academy of Medicine, fellow of the American Psychopathological Association, member of the American College of Psychiatrists, trustee and vice chair of the board of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York, chair of the Task Force on Medical Education for the Catholic Health Care Network and director of The Catholic Communal Fund. He served as president of the University Club of New York from 1993 to 1995.

Among his many honors were the Academy Plaque of the New York Academy of Medicine, membership in Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor medical society, and the Distinguished Trustee Award from the United Hospital Fund.

Dr. O’Connell retired from NYMC in 2012, but remained on the teaching faculty until 2015, serving as the vice chairman for research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and teaching psychiatry at Metropolitan until 2017.

Richard K. Stone, M.D. ’68, April 14, 1943 – December 18, 2021

Richard K. Stone, M.D. ’68, professor emeritus of pediatrics, senior associate dean of the SOM and professor of clinical public health at NYMC and chief medical officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, joined the NYMC community in 1964 as a medical student and the Metropolitan community in 1966 during his third-year clinical rotations there. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Metropolitan and served as chief resident. 

Following active duty in the United States Navy at the National Naval Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he returned to Metropolitan in 1973, serving as pediatric residency director and then chief of pediatrics. He was appointed Metropolitan's Medical Director in 1989, a position he held until his retirement in 2014.

A board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Stone was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the New York Academy of Medicine and a member of Alpha Omega Alpha.

Dr. Stone was an active member of the NYMC community. He served as president of the Faculty Senate for three years. He also served as vice chair of its grievance committee and chair of the curriculum subcommittee on primary care as well as a member of the education and curriculum committee and the committee on compensation and fringe benefits.

Dr. Stone was instrumental in helping students open La Casita de la Salud, the student-run free clinic in East Harlem in 2005. When he first heard about the student-initiated project, he immediately offered the use of an existing clinic affiliated with Metropolitan, La Clinica del Barrio He also arranged for the students to present their proposal to attending physicians, to recruit them as voluntary supervisors one morning each quarter and secured two fellowships of $2,100 each funded by the Metropolitan Medical Board to support students eager to work on the project over the summer.

Dr. Stone received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 2008 and the Jackson E. Spears Community Service Award recognizing exceptional service and commitment to his community at the 2014 Founder's Dinner.