Rolly McGrath played basketball at the University of Iowa and was a member of the 1968 Big Ten Men's Basketball Championship team.
He attended medical school at the University of Kansas (1968-1972), had residency training in Internal Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine (1972-1976), did a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at the University of Southern California (1977-1978), and served on the IUSM faculty for 35 years.
He has been board certified in Internal Medicine, Critical Care, and Emergency Medicine.
During his tenure he served Wishard Health Services as the Chief of Internal Medicine (1996-1999), Chief of Emergency Medicine (199-2011), and Medical Director of the Medical Intensive Care Units (1976-1999), Emergency Department (1987-2009), and Ambulance Service (1987-2000).
He served medical students as the course director of Freshman Emergency Medicine (1990-1995), Evidence Based Medicine (2001-2005), and the Internal Medicine (1976-1999), Critical Care (1976-1999), and Emergency Medicine Clinical Clerkships (1986-2000).
He received recognition as Best Dental Lecturer from the IU Dental School senior class (1986) and Outstanding Teacher in Internal Medicine by the IUSM senior class (1984, 1987, 1988, and 1989). He received the Department of Medicine Distinguished Teaching Award (1990) and a President's Award or All University Distinguished Teaching Award (1990). He was given an Emergency Medicine Trustee Teaching Award (2002), the Jay Grosfeld, MD Annual Trauma Recognition Award (2010), and the Glenn W. Irwin Jr., MD, Distinguished Faculty Award (2013).
He was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha in 2002.
Rolly was the inaugural IUSM Department of Emergency Medicine Chair (1999-2011). With the support of many he effected the transition of the Wishard Emergency Department to emergency medicine from its old specialty-based triage paradigm. This facilitated better patient care and created a milieu for student and resident education in emergency medicine.
In addition to numerous school and hospital committees Rolly served on the Executive Committee (2007-2010) and was President of the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine (2009).
The Rolly McGrath Chair in Emergency Medicine is an endowed senior professorship funded by University Emergency Medicine Associates (the original academic departmental practice plan), Indiana University School of Medicine, and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County in 2009.