Richard Gibbs MD

Richard Gibbs, MDGibbs (rgibbs@sffc.org) Supervising Physician San Francisco Ballet President and Co-founder San Francisco Free Clinic Founding Chair Dance/USA Taskforce on Dancer Health Born in Iowa, Richard Gibbs studied music and dance as a child and performed in summer stock and civic theater. Following a scholarship to the Joffrey School, he danced several years each with the Hamburg Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and First Chamber Dance Company creating numerous roles for choreographer John Neumeier and the Hamburg Ballet and dancing lead roles in works by Jerome Robbins, Ballanchine, Agnes DeMille, and Oscar Ariaz.

Retiring from the stage in his mid-thirties, Dr. Gibbs received a degree in English from Harvard and a Doctor of Medicine from Yale where he met and married former U.S. Ski Team racer, Tricia Hellman Gibbs. In 1991 the Gibbs’s accepted an invitation from the San Francisco Ballet to redesign their medical program. Combining the viewpoint of professional dancer and physician, the Gibbs’s created one of the nation’s most progressive programs in dancer health. Adding more services to the program each year, Dr. Richard Gibbs continues as San Francisco Ballet’s Supervising Physician. He lectures nationally on dancer health and still teaches ballet, having served on the staffs of the San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Harvard Dance Program, Washington State’s Summer Dance Lab, and Marin Ballet.

Dr. Gibbs is the founding Chair of Dance/USA’s national Taskforce on Dancer Health, and he is the lead author of the Taskforce paper, Guidelines on Nutrition for Professional Companies. In 2004, the Taskforce introduced the idea of a standardized preventive healthcare screen for professional dance companies in the U.S. and Canada. Over 35 companies now use the Taskforce Screen and are working together to bring better health to those who dance for a living. In 2007, Richard received Dance/USA’s Trustees Award, and the S. F. Ballet named him Christiansen Society Honoree of the Year (2012) for contributions to the welfare of professional dancers.

In 1994, the Gibbs’s founded the San Francisco Free Clinic where they provide free medical care for people with no health insurance. The innovative philosophy of the clinic has been recognized by a number of awards including California Family Physicians of the Year (1996), Berkeley School of Public Health Institutional Heroes of the Year (2007), the Bay Area Philanthropists of the Year (2010), and the University of San Francisco’s California Prize (2013). In 2013, the Gibbs’s were awarded the Yale-Jefferson Prize by Yale University for “contributions to the common good.” They recently co-authored Free Clinics: a personal journey for the Archives of Internal Medicine. The Gibbs’s have five children and live in the San Rafael.