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Remembering Dr. Rubin

Remembering Dr. Rubin | The LOOP Blog

A few weeks ago, the diabetes community lost a very dear friend, Dr. Richard R. Rubin. An associate professor of medicine and pediatrics for The Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Rubin spent his career helping people with diabetes and their families manage the emotional and psychological challenges of the disease.We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Rubin as a guest speaker for our first Diabetes Advocate Forum back in 2011. It was a very special experience for all of us. At the end of a day filled with excitement and chatter, the room fell silent listening to him share his personal story with diabetes – his sister was diagnosed in 1959 and his son 20 years later – as well as meaningful words of understanding and encouragement.

Dr. Rubin was also a very valuable partner to Medtronic for many years. In the early years of MiniMed, Dr. Rubin and his son Stefan were co-authors on an education book for insulin pump customers called Optimal Pumping, the first of several collaborations throughout the years. Among his many contributions to the diabetes community, he also served a co-investigator on many critical clinical research studies and helped measure fear of hypoglycemia and the burden of diabetes, by developing assessment tools specific to diabetes technology.

Here are some memories from just a few of the people whose lives were touched by Dr. Rubin.

“Richard was always the consummate academic. His books are masterpieces; his manuscripts are a legacy. We worked together on STAR 3 and his interest in how sensor augmented pump impacted people with diabetes added immensely to our understanding of how patients and families adjusted to advanced diabetes technology. Richard was the consummate clinician. Just watching him at Children With Diabetes convinced you that patients always came first. His willingness to share his own family’s diabetes journey elevated the conversation and infused it with empathy. Watching him share the podium with his son was a privilege. Richard was the consummate friend. He was there for so many people through so many things, guiding us and helping us heal. And Richard was the consummate artist with an eye for what was beautiful and the ability to find simple pleasure in the world around us. I think his attached photos show how much he appreciated the transient nature of life … glancing at them makes me thankful that he left us all so much to remember him by.”Dr. Francine Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer for Medtronic Diabetes

“I have a special admiration for people who don’t have diabetes themselves but love and care for someone who does, and Dr. Rubin is high on the list of those that I admire. I’ve been fortunate to hear him speak numerous times and his words brought a wonderful combination of caring, understanding and empowerment. Since he had both a sister and a son with Type 1 he was able to give me a peek inside the world of my own brother and my parents. He had a gentle way of empowering us on our journey with chronic illness and I always smile when I recall the story of a day when his son felt fed up with taking his insulin injections. Instead of listing the reasons why the injections had to be done, Dr. Rubin empathized and imagined with his son that he could take one shot a day, one shot a week, one shot a year. His son pondered this and quickly declared that one shot a year would be a pretty huge needle and that he’d stick with things the way they were. I will miss Dr. Rubin’s wise words and his smiling face, and I will always remember the lessons he shared with so many of us.” – Karen Graffeo,

“Back in November, 2009 it was my pleasure to get to work with Dr. Richard Rubin on an important supplement for Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics entitled “Therapeutic Benefits of Sensor-Augmented Pump Therapy”. Even though Dr. Rubin was extremely busy when he heard what the topic was he immediately agreed to author one of the lead presentations because he had a personal stake in helping people with Diabetes, especially children, because his younger sister was diagnosed with it. Besides being one of the foremost experts on the subject, he felt that it was important to not simply discuss the facts, but that it was vital to reinforce the emotional and behavioral implications of Diabetes because that is how it would be possible to get the word out and help improve treatment outcomes. He taught me an important lesson, that no one can motivate someone with diabetes unless that individual is motivated themselves. On a personal note, besides being a lovely and kind man, Dr. Rubin was the embodiment of a gentleman in every aspect. We are all saddened by the passing of such a great man but feel honored that we were able to spend time with him. I know in heaven he is telling his charming stories about all his experiences with his peers and people in the field of diabetes.” – Jean Oertel, Director of Healthcare Provider Market Development, Medtronic Diabetes

“He was the definition of gentle. The epitome of kindness. He had smiling eyes, and a giant heart. The first time I met him I found that everything I felt as a mother of three boys with Type 1, he understood. He told us not to be hard on ourselves. He told us to keep trying. But most importantly he reached out as a friend to our family in our hardest of times. You will be missed Dr. Rubin. You left a giant hole in this world, but have filled it up with your legacy of love and empathy. My life is better because you were in it.” – Meri Schumacher,

Of course, in addition to his innumerable professional contributions, he was also a loving husband, father and friend. To learn more, you can find his obituary here.

Thank you Dr. Rubin. You will be missed.

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  1. Madeline Frith

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