Professor Emeritus

Areas of Interest
Psychology, Spinal Cord Injury, Chronic Pain


Dr. Richards joined the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 1977 and started the Psychology Service, which he ran until 2003. He initiated Clinical Psychology services for persons with spinal cord injury and provided those services until 2013. He also co-founded and co-directed an inpatient, operant conditioning based inpatient chronic pain treatment program which ran for 25 years. He was Director of Research for the Department from 1986-2012. He has served as Vice Chair for the Department and Chair of the Finance and Promotions and Tenure as well as served on numerous other committees. He is a past President of the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, and current member of the Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology Board of Directors. He has been on the faculties of the UAB Medical Psychology Doctoral Training Program, and APA approved Clinical Psychology Internship Training Program since his arrival at UAB. He has held numerous NIDRR/NIDILRR and NIH grants including being Co-PI of the Spinal Cord Injury Model System of Care, the only continually funded center in the country since the program’s inception in 1973. He has published on a number of topics, but most recently and consistently on topics related to pain following spinal cord injury. He has received a number of national awards for his research and service including the APA Rehabilitation Psychology Distinguished Career Award and Leonard Diller lectureship, and the AASCIPSW Excellence Award. He continues to provide outpatient clinical services and participate in grant, research and teaching.

Education & Training

PhD, Kent State University
MS, University of Michigan