Richard Hift is currently the Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine. He previously served as Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine, Head of the Department of General Medicine at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
He qualified from the University of Cape Town with the MB ChB degree in 1981 and performed his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital. He specialized in Internal Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, becoming a Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa in 1987. He was awarded the Masters in Medicine (Medicine) degree in 1992 with a dissertation entitled Activated Charcoal in the Treatment of Porphyria, and the PhD (Medicine) degree in 2000 with a dissertation entitled Variegate porphyria: molecular aspects and their clinical and biochemical consequences.