Richard Benson

richard bensonRichard Benson, MD, PhD, is a neurologist and associate medical director of the Stroke Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, he is an associate professor of Clinical Neurology, Georgetown University Medical Center.

Dr. Benson specializes in health disparities research, minority health, stroke, cerebrovascular disease and translational research related to neurological diseases. His background includes experience as a program director for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. At the Hospital Center, he is a faculty member for the National Institutes of Health Stroke Fellows program.

Dr. Benson has received many honors and awards for his work, including the Distinguished Biomedical Scientist Alumni Award from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, and a Nurses’ Choice Physician Collaboration award from the Hospital Center.

Dr. Benson is a member of several professional societies, including the American Heart Association, where he serves as chair of the AHA Missions Committee for the greater Washington region; the American Medical Association; the American Academy of Neurology; and the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. A frequently invited speaker at meetings of professional societies, he often lectures on stroke prevention, neurological emergencies and disparities in stroke. His research has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the European Journal of Medical Research.​

Dr. Benson earned a medical degree and a PhD in Neurophysiology from Meharry Medical College. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, MA, and a residency at the Harvard Longwood Neurology Program, also in Boston. He then completed a two-year stroke fellowship with the Neurological Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

Research Interests

Dr. Benson’s research interests include

  • Neurology
  • Stroke
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Health disparities
  • Minority health

Selected Research

Predictors of Acute Stroke Mimics

In this analysis of data from a large sample of patients from the National Institutes of Health Stroke Program, Dr. Benson and colleagues sought to determine the rates and predictors of conditions that mimic stroke. The authors found that one third of the patients seen over 10 years had a condition that imitated stroke. Results of this work have been published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases (2013 May 13).

Health Disparities Research, Stroke, and Minority Health

Dr. Benson has served as program director for several multi-million dollar extramural grants and cooperative agreements funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In this role, he provided scientific, administrative and financial management for projects related to health disparities research, stroke and minority health.

Heart 360 Get-To-Goal

Dr. Benson is a project director for this program sponsored by the American Heart Association’s Greater Washington Region. This program focuses on increasing physical activity, healthier eating and better management of high blood pressure through education, tracking and coaching. Participants will be primarily African American and will be screened for high blood pressure.

View Dr. Benson's publications on PubMed

  • Research Areas
  • Neuroscience