In Memoriam: Dr. Richard Koch (1922-2011)

Founding Director, USC UCEDD

October 4, 2011

Dr. Richard Koch, a long-time disabilities champion, passed away peacefully September 24, 2011, at his home in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Koch dedicated his career to identify, treat and help find a cure for PKU. He was a respected leader in this area both nationally and internationally, and continued his active interest in this work until his final months.

Dr. Koch was Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern CA; and was the founding director of the USC UCEDD. He was instrumental in development of the landmark California Lanterman Act, which led to the development of the Regional Center System in CA. The program, an entitlement for CA residents, created a network of centers dedicated to serving persons with developmental disabilities. His work, spanning more than six decades, was at the forefront of both PKU treatment and research, and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Dr. Koch graduated from the University of Rochester Medical School in New York in 1951, and began his internship at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where he continued to practice up until shortly before his passing. Dr. Koch mentored multiple generations and truly made a difference.