- Last Updated: 03 February 2022 03 February 2022
It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of Ron Tompkins, MD, ScD. The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association was fortunate to be able to collaborate on a number of projects with Ron, and he was always extraordinarily generous with advice and guidance. The Massachusetts ME/CFS community has lost a strong ally and a good friend.
Ron Tompkins was Sumner M. Redstone Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and chief of Surgery, Science and Bioengineering at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Surgery, Chief Medical Officer of the Open Medicine Foundation and Co-Director of the Harvard ME/CFS Collaboration at the Harvard Affiliated Hospitals. In 2018 Ron helped MassME organize a screening of the movie Unrest at MGH, and moderated the panel discussion that followed. He did the same the following year for an event that MassME co-organized with the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Both of these events were significant in getting information about ME/CFS and the lived experience of people with ME to doctors and other health professionals at one of the largest and most influential health centers in the state.
Ron brought decades of research and medical expertise to find ways to recognize, diagnose, and treat ME/CFS. He was Chief Medical Officer with the Open Medicine Foundation, and was instrumental in setting up the Harvard ME/CFS Collaboration. The OMF has announced that they have renamed this initiative The Ronald G. Tompkins ME/CFS Collaboration at the Harvard Affiliated Hospitals. Ron could easily have rested on his already impressive career laurels, but chose to engage in a new area for him, with the ME/CFS community, to address the decades of research neglect. He brought compassion, defiance, and a deep well of expertise to the fight, and his voice will be sorely missed.
You can see Ron’s empathy and knowledge in interviews with MassME members Rivka Solomon and Dr. Alan Gurwitt and in his presentation at the MassME Annual Meeting in October, 2020.
On behalf of our members, MassME extends its deepest sympathy to Ron’s family and friends. Remembrances for Ron can be left on this Kudoboard.
Notice about names
The Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, including the CDC, are currently using ME/CFS.
Massachusetts ME/CFS & FM Association changed its name in July, 2018, to reflect this consensus.