Jorge Ribas, President & CEO
Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Office: 202-587-0736 ● Mobile: 301-404-1946
Dr. Jorge Ribas is a co-founder and first President and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a multi-state business organization based in Washington, DC. He has been recognized as an effective and visionary team leader who enjoys fast-paced, entrepreneurial environments. Dr. Ribas is a dynamic executive who is known for his no-nonsense, “can-do” approach based upon results-oriented organizational and interpersonal skills, and who has had also a long-standing record of proven success in resolving crisis situations demanding quick action and sound judgment.
After serving 14 years in active duty and 14 years in the U.S. Army Active Reserves, Dr. Ribas retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He spent most of his scientific and administrative career as a neuroscientist and as a research pathologist specializing in infectious and parasitic diseases, and as a program officer and hospital administrator at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. There, he served as a key team member planning and implementing congressionally mandated programs that included the biological basis of drug addiction in Vietnam Veterans, HIV infection and AIDS, and the Gulf War Syndrome.
His major collaborative research contributions were his discovery of the mechanism of entry of the HIV virus into human cells; presenting evidence by combined in-situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry of early and widespread viral burden in HIV-infected but asymptomatic individuals, and its ominous implications in the ultimate development of a vaccine; and, demonstrating that there was no known infectious or parasitic etiologic agent that would explain the symptomatology associated with the so-called Gulf War Syndrome.
He has published over 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, written chapters for medical textbooks, and has made numerous research presentations here and abroad. In his last active duty assignment, he served as Administrator of the Gulf War Health Center and Director for Internet Technologies for the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command in Washington, DC, thus furthering the U.S. Army Medical Department’s entry into the Internet age.
For nearly 25 years, Dr. Ribas was a professor of human anatomy (gross anatomy, neuroscience and medical histology courses) and of human and comparative pathology in several medical schools. In 1976, he was one of the first faculty members recruited to launch the School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. He was also a senior research pathologist in the biotechnology program at Monsanto Company in St. Louis, MO, where he was responsible for the biocompatibility of delivery systems for rDNA-based products that resulted in an early commercialization of bovine growth hormone. More recently, he was the founder and president of Ribas & Associates, Inc., a technology company specializing in web-based systems for clinical medicine and education.
Dr. Ribas is a graduate of Southwest Baptist University (A.A.), Southwest Missouri State University (B.S.), and the University of Missouri - Columbia where he earned a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. He pursued postdoctoral training in the neurosciences at the University of Rochester Medical School and completed a residency in comparative pathology at the University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham. In addition, he had further training in neurochemistry at the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, and in neuropathology and infectious diseases at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
Over the years, he has been appointed by several Maryland Governors and Montgomery County Executives to serve in a number of Commissions, and has had over 40 years of executive management and Board of Directors' leadership roles in various business, community, healthcare and nonprofit organizations. He served as President of the Indian Spring Citizens Association (1978-1980), and as President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation (1998-2000), a venerable countywide coalition of civic associations founded in 1925.
His most notable civic accomplishments have been securing a much needed traffic light at the intersection of Colesville Road and Franklin Avenue in Silver Spring from Governor Harry Hughes (1980); organizing sesquicentenial festivities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Silver Spring (1992), which had been forgotten by prominent business and civic leaders; securing $15 million from Governor Donald Schaeffer to kick off the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring (1992); successfully creating a coalition of PTAs, civic associations and businesses, named Citizens for a Better Blair, to build a $43-million replacement building for Blair High School in Four Corners, Silver Spring (1992-1995); helping establish the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce (1993); organizing a civic and congressional coalition to successfully prevent the Clinton Administration from closing down the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda (1996); securing Congressional support to force the Pentagon to release $147 million of appropriated funds to build a new Walter Reed Army Medical Research Institute in Silver Spring - Forest Glen (1997); and, helping persuade Maryland Governor Parris Glendening's administration to invest $250 million for intersection improvements to mitigate traffic congestion in Eastern Mongomery County (1999).
In the 1990s, Dr Ribas was a columnist for a Maryland daily newspaper, the Montgomery Journal, and from 2004-2007 he was a producer and host of two weekly, prime-time and live radio programs: Mundo Empresarial (Business World) and Desde Washington (From Washington), Radio Latina, Falls Church, VA.
In addition to military and professional awards, Dr. Ribas has been recognized multiple times for exemplary service and leadership in the civic community, including Woodward & Lothrop's Washingtonian of the Year (1979); 3-time recipient of the Montgomery County Civic Federation's highest award, the Silver Cup (1980, 1994 and 2004); Southwest Baptist University Life Service Award (1983); The Journal Newspapers Trophy (1991); Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce's President's Cup (1994); the Montgomery County Community Television Volunteer of the Year Award (1995); and, Montgomery County Industry and Commerce Award (2003). He lives in Laytonsville, MD with his wife Sharon. They have two children, two grandsons and one granddaughter.