Memorial: Brian P. Russell, RPh, MBA (1958 – 2009) CME Czar

Long time leader in CME Brian P. Russell, RPh, MBA died on December 5th at his home after a long fight with Pancreatic Cancer.  

During his work career he worked in industry, academia and commercial medical education.  Brian served twenty eight years in the medical education industry, most recently as director of medical education at Roche Laboratories, Inc.

From 1991 to 2006, Brian served in multiple jobs at Vox Medica Inc. and its subsidiaries including Executive VP and Principal Vox Medica Inc., President and Chief Compliance Officer of Institute for Continuing Health-care Education Inc., and President CoMed Communications, Inc.   Brian built Co-Med into a 110 person firm and secured seven separate accreditations.  At CoMed he also sat on the board of North American Association of Medical Communications and Education Companies (NAAMECC).

Prior to Vox for seven years at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science as Executive Director  of institutional extension services where he ran the Continuing Education Office and built it up from a one man office to a six person center for the university and coordinated a MBA program with Drexel. 

For seven years he was a writer for American Druggist Magazine, and previously served as an associate dean at the University Of Rhode Island College Of Pharmacy.

He leaves quite a legacy, with many of the leaders of CME having learned from his leadership at Vox, Co-Med and ICHE.    He set up the CME department at Roche ensuring that they met compliance standards and focused their funding on CME programs that made a difference.

He was a regular attendee at CME meetings and was regularly seen in the back of the room (can’t sit down  he had too much energy).  He always contributed thoughtful questions and was a strong advocate for collaboration between industry and CME providers.  

I first met Brian when he running CoMed, he was enthusiastic but also a realist, very much ensuring that the educational programs his group conducted were done with the utmost quality.   At one Alliance meeting in 2001, his group was giving 8 presentations and he was running from meeting to meeting, he was excited and I don’t think he would have it any other way.

As a competitor I was always impressed with the scientific rigor and logistical precision of his programs.  As the leader of a CME group within a pharmaceutical company, he was very focused on the latest educational design methods and outcome based education as opposed to didactic lectures.



We discussed at length the Roche-Genentech merger and he was truly looking forward to moving out to South San Francisco the new Roche-Genentech headquarters. He loved the climate and was looking forward to a change of lifestyle.  It is sad he didn’t see that happen.

We had a lot of laughs together and I think many of us in CME will miss him.

A celebration service is set for him on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009 from 6 to 8 P.M. at DALEY LIFE CELEBRATION STUDIO, 1518 Kings Hwy., Swedesboro NJ. For donation and burial information in Rhode Island:

Brian Russell References

Authored Articles

Alliance for CME Almanac

July 2005: Establishing an Internal Compliance Program to Manage Risk in Grant-Funded Continuing Medical Education


Medical Meetings

December 1, 2005 NAAMECC Gets New Board

Medical Marketing and Media

February 1, 2007 Roche Hires Med Ed Czar

Speaking Engagements 

19th Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME

October 23rd 2008 Power Point

Speaker Award

While at the institute of Continuing Medical Education he received the Elite Speaker Award from the Center for Business Intelligence


LinkedIn Profile and Resume:  Brian P. Russell


 Philadelphia Inquire

Celebration Studio

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One thought on “Memorial: Brian P. Russell, RPh, MBA (1958 – 2009) CME Czar

  1. David McNinch says:

    Brian Russell was a hell of a guy. He was inspiring, practical, and lover of life. I will miss his laugh, sarcasm, and appreciation for a good Dewars and water!
    Thanks Brian for being the great guy you were!

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