Losing Dr. Robb Smith

Employee News & Views Editor: January 21, 20110 Comments

This is a guest blog from David Slater, MD, Pathologist and Education Committee Chair for Community Medical Centers Laboratory, and 2008 Fresno Madera Medical Society President. He knew Dr. Robb Smith well and considered him a friend, as did many of our Community staff and physicians:
Community’s Medical Staff lost a long-time physician member on January 17th.  Robb Smith, MD, was killed in a late night motor vehicle accident at a rural Fresno County intersection.   He was 59 years of age.

Dr. Smith came from a medical family.  His physician father, Robb, Sr. had a very long career in the Fresno area.  Robb, Jr. graduated from medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1978 . He did his post-graduate training at  VA Medical Center and Valley Medical Center in Fresno between 1980 and 1985.
As an internist and one of the few geriatric specialists in our region, Dr. Smith was a 35-year member of Community’s medical staff.  Like most internists, for years he had a mixed office /senior care facility  and hospital practice.  That practice pattern is now just about extinct among internists, and more recently he had worked in a clinic setting.  At the time of his death he was commuting to Bakersfield where he worked as a hospitalist physician.

On a personal level, Robb Smith was bright, always curious, highly  gregarious, and  frequently a  bit irreverent.  He relished social contact with his patients and his colleagues, and he always had a quip, a fresh insight, or a new angle on an issue.  One can imagine him as a  youngster  – quick to grasp a lesson, a bit of a joker, likely driving the teacher a bit crazy, but at the end of the day a kid clearly destined for success.

Dr. Smith thrived on organized medicine including the Fresno Madera Medical Society (FMMS) and the California Medical Association. The issues of the day,  all those  positions to be debated and then chosen, the interplay of personalities – he loved these organizations and made important contributions to them.  Sadly, he had just been selected as FMMS’s 2012 President-elect. In that role he had also just become a member of the Board of the Central California Blood Center – an organization with special meaning for him, since his father had helped found it in the 1950s and had been its Chairperson for decades.  He served in many capacities on Community’s medical staff and was currently active on our Credentials Committee and our Education Committee.

We understand that services are planned on Saturday, January 29th at 3 pm at Fresno Central Seventh Day Adventist Church, 2980 E Yale Ave.  Please watch the newspaper for further details including family’s preferences for memorials.

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