School of Clinical Medicine

Name                                                                                        Professor Richard Hift

Telephone  +27 31 260 4216

Campus   Medical
  Deanery, 1st Floor
Designation  Dean: School of Clinical Medicine

Richard Hift is currently the Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine. He previously served as Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine, Head of the Department of General Medicine at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He qualified from the University of Cape Town with the MB ChB degree in 1981 and performed his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital. He specialised in Internal Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, becoming a Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa in 1987. He was awarded the Masters in Medicine (Medicine) degree in 1992 with a dissertation entitled Activated Charcoal in the Treatment of Porphyria, and the PhD (Medicine) degree in 2000 with a dissertation entitled Variegate porphyria: molecular aspects and their clinical and biochemical consequences.

Research interests
His research interests cover all aspects of porphyria, including its epidemiology, natural history, diagnosis and management of variegate porphyria as well as its the pathogenesis, molecular biology and enzymology, and iron-loading disorders in relation to hereditary haemochromatosis and porphyria cutanea tarda in non-Caucasoid populations.

He has 57 peer-reviewed publications in a variety of Biochemical, Genetics, Medicine, Hepatology and medical Education journals, including Nature Genetics, and 18 chapters in books as well as numerous publications in other media.

Educational interests
He established the Clinical Skills Centre at the University of Cape Town and served as its first director. His particular interest is in the early clinical training of junior clinical-year students. He has introduced numerous innovative and progressive educational and assessment strategies at both the Universities of Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal, and has participated frequently in national and international medical education conferences. In his current position he oversees the undergraduate education of over 600 undergraduate students per year and of 74 specialist trainees in Internal Medicine. His current research interests are focused on the cognitive aspects of learning and assessment in the clinical disciplines, particularly on the application of transfer theory to medical education. From the operational point of view he is concerned with the problems of students entering the clinical years from an educationally deprived background, and with the determination and provision of the resources and structures needed to support the production of medical practitioners and specialists in the numbers and with the skills required to address the health needs of sub-Saharan Africa.

He is a member of the South African Medical Association, Fellow of the College of Medicine of South Africa, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and examiner for the College of Physicians and the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa, member of the South African Gastroenterological Society and the Hepatopancreaticobiliary Association of South Africa, past secretary of the African Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AfrASLD), past secretary of the Committee for the Review of Porphyrinogenicity of Drugs (CORP), consultant to the American Porphyria Foundation, the European Porphyria Initiative and Orphan-Europe.

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