The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine mourns the passing of Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology and a highly respected and beloved member of the UHealth and Miller School community, on January 17, from a glioblastoma.
Dr. Sacco was a dedicated, nationally and internationally renowned stroke neurologist whose leadership helped establish the Miller School’s reputation as a hub of excellence in research, education, and treatment of stroke and cardiovascular and brain health.
Besides being chair of the Department of Neurology, he held the positions of the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders; professor of neurology, public health sciences, human genetics, and neurosurgery; chief of neurology at Jackson Memorial Hospital; and executive director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, which focuses on advancing clinical care and research in age-related memory loss and cognitive decline. He was also director and multi-principal investigator of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and senior associate dean for clinical and translational science.
Dr. Sacco’s outstanding achievements and contributions in research, teaching and mentorship, and patient care made a lasting impact on health care in South Florida, the nation, and the world. His work was integral to advancements in overall brain health, stroke, and cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment, and helped to advance health equity, create more targeted stroke prevention programs, improve outcomes, and enhance quality of life for stroke patients. Dr. Sacco’s collaborative research advanced the understanding of stroke and cardiovascular and brain health, and helped elucidate the impact of modifiable behaviors, such as alcohol consumption and physical activity, on stroke risk.
“Ralph Sacco personified the excellence and preeminence to which our academic health system aspires,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “He was truly one of the most distinguished members of our faculty, whose professional achievements, scientific originality, and personal virtues of leadership changed our University — and the field of neuroscience — for the better. We share in the grief of his loved ones and feel this loss acutely.”