In Memoriam: Richard J. Davey, MD

September 20, 2023

Richard J. Davey, a leader in the field of transfusion medicine, died June 13 due to complications of progressive neurological disease.

Davey spent much of his career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service. There he studied the lifespan and trafficking of blood cells in health and disease. This research led to revisions in Food and Drug Administration guidelines for blood component management. During this time, Davey was also detailed to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked to improve transfusion practices in developing countries amid the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

After leaving NIH, Davey held leadership roles at the American Red Cross and New York Blood Center and served on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability. He returned to public service to complete his career, serving as director of the FDA’s Division of Blood Components and Devices.

Throughout his career, Davey was a prolific author, speaker and teacher. He supervised the training of countless physicians and technologists in the discipline of transfusion medicine who appreciated his kind manner and dedicated mentorship. He also contributed to many publications through AABB, including Transfusion, the Technical Manual, the Practical Guide to Transfusion Medicine and Rossi’s Principles of Transfusion Medicine, among others. NIH created the annual Richard J. Davey lectureship and award in his honor to recognize his commitment to teaching.