Dr. Richard Friend

Friend Named Dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences

Richard Friend, dean of UA's CCHS
Dr. Richard Friend

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A physician with extensive administrative experience in family medicine at two universities and who also spent 10 years in private practice has been named dean of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

Dr. Richard Friend, who has served as interim dean and professor in the College for the past year, was named dean, effective July 15, said Dr. Kevin Whitaker, UA executive vice president and provost.

“Dr. Friend’s extensive qualifications and familiarity with the University will serve the campus well as he leads CCHS,” said Whitaker. “Our College of Community Health Sciences will strongly support UA’s research initiatives, particularly those related to life research. The College also plays a vital role in rural health initiatives in the state and impacts medical student education by serving as a regional campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine.”

Friend joined UA in 2012 as residency director of the Family Medicine Residency, associate professor of family medicine and vice chair of the College’s department of family medicine. He was later named clinic director of the family medicine suite within UA’s University Medical Center and chair of the College’s department of family, internal and rural medicine.

Friend came to UA from the LSU School of Medicine, where he first served as assistant residency program director beginning in 2006. He then served as program director from 2007 to 2012.

In addition to his administrative experience, Friend brings substantial clinical experience, including inpatient and ambulatory medicine, endoscopic procedures and extensive emergency room experience.

He serves as an emergency medicine physician at Choctaw General Hospital in Butler, as a family medicine physician at DCH Regional Medical Center, and at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi. He previously served as an emergency medicine physician at Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center.

Friend has also served as a medical director for nursing homes, a home hospice and a home health company. He held numerous leadership roles at Bogalusa Medical Center, including chief of staff at that hospital.

He has been awarded millions of dollars in grant funding, given invited presentations and authored many published articles.

Friend graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine with honors and completed his residency at LSU in Shreveport. He earned his undergraduate degree, with honors, from Tulane University.

He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors and the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, and he serves on the Alabama Academic Family Medicine Council.

Friend served the National Board of Medical Examiners as a committee member of the United States Medical Licensing Examination from 2015-2019. In his community, Friend is on the executive leadership team of the West Alabama Heart Walk.

The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences is home to one of the nation’s largest family medicine residencies – The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency – and offers post-graduate fellowships in behavioral health, emergency medicine, geriatrics, hospital medicine, pediatrics, rural public psychiatry and sports medicine. In its role as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides the third and fourth years of clinical education and training to a portion of medical students


Chris Bryant, UA communications, 205-348-8323, chris.bryant@ua.edu