August 30, 2021
Northborough - Dr. Robert Finberg, Chair Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School passed away suddenly on Monday, August 30, 2021, at the age of 71. He resided in Northborough. Dr. Robert Finberg was born in Baltimore to Dr. Laurence Finberg and Harriet Levinson Finberg and grew up in Tarrytown, New York. An exceptional student, Dr. Finberg obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and medical degree (with AOA honors) from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at the New York University School of Medicine and an Infectious Disease Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Finberg completed his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Benacerraf at Harvard, where he made seminal discoveries in the biology of HLA-based immune cell recognition of viruses. Robert is survived by his wife and former college sweetheart, Dr. Joyce Fingeroth. Robert and Joyce were married for 50 years. Robert's accomplished career as a physician, infectious disease researcher, and teacher spanned four decades. He was an internationally renowned physician-scientist and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for 21 years. With more than 300 publications and 40 years of continuous NIH funding, Dr. Finberg's research contributed enormously to our understanding of viral receptors and entry to host responses and he was widely recognized as an expert on influenza and Sars-CoV2; he was also awarded research grants from the Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and other agencies. He played a pivotal role in developing, testing, and implementing novel therapies for patients with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infection. He rose to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping lead clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics and vaccines. He was also an ardent public health advocate and served on multiple state and federal committees to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For more than two decades, Robert skillfully directed the educational, clinical and research activities in the largest academic department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, all while continuing to care compassionately for patients in the hospital. He proudly served as a member of the Board of Trustees for UMass Memorial Health from 2012 until this past March, sharing his knowledge and expertise with Board members and other leaders to make key decisions for the health system. He was a strong advocate for faculty and staff development, overseeing three residency programs and fellowship training programs in more than 16 specialty and subspecialty areas. Robert's impact on his colleagues and mentees was profound and cannot be overstated. He met with every internal medicine residency applicant for over twenty years and he deeply cared about each of his 400-plus faculty and staff. He was invested in mentorship and was proud of his contributions to the career development of countless students, residents, and faculty, many of whom went on to successful academic careers as physicians and scientists bringing international recognition to his department. Before joining UMass in 1999, he was professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of infectious disease at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Robert was an avid reader, a fantastic cook, and an incredibly curious person. He traveled widely throughout his life with family and friends, including a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2007. He loved his family deeply and was crazy about his three daughters and grandchildren. Robert's infectious laugh, dry wit, deep intellect, boundless energy, great sense of humor, compassion and love for his family, friends, and colleagues will be greatly missed by all. Robert is survived by his wife, Dr. Joyce Fingeroth, his daughters, Johanna, Sara, and Leah Fine, his three grandchildren, Orly, Nate, and Leo, his sister Jeanne Finberg, and his brother James Finberg: and many wonderful extended family, close friends, and professional colleagues. A private family service will be held on Thursday, September 2nd, at 11 a.m. at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester, MA. Condolences can be shared to the Finberg Family, at 259 Crawford Street, Northborough, MA, 01532. A special endowment has been created for the Dr. Robert Finberg Fund and gifts in memory of Robert can be made payable to the UMass Medical School Foundation and sent to the Office of Advancement, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury, MA, 01545. A memorial service is being planned. To share a memory or offer condolence, please visit the "Tribute Wall" on this page.
Northborough - Dr. Robert Finberg, Chair Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School passed away suddenly on Monday, August 30, 2021, at the age of 71. He resided in Northborough. Dr. Robert... View Obituary & Service Information
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