Dr. Richard A. Steinbach, 56, the chairman of the department of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and a member of the school's faculty since 1954, died of cancer Sept. 9 at his home in Bethesda.

In 1980, a scientific symposium was conducted at Georgetown in honor of Dr. Steinbach, who was widely recognized as a medical educator and clinician. More than 400 colleagues, students and friends attended the occasion.

Dr. Steinbach was a president of the Washington Psychiatric Society and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Since 1957, he had been an examiner of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He was a consultant to the Catholic Charities of Washington.

A native of Atlanta, Dr. Steinbach graduated from the University of Georgia. He took his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia in 1947. He did his psychiatric residency at Cincinnati General Hospital. From 1950 to 1952, he was a captain in the Army Medical Corps and was assistant chief of the neuro-psychiatric service at Fort Riley, Kan.

He was a member of the parish of the Church of the little Flower.

Survivors include his wife, Maureen Ryan Steinbach, and three children, Jeffrey, Anne and Peter, all of Bethesda; two sisters, Arlene S. Garfinkel of Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Selma F. Elrod, of Roanoke, Ala.; two stepbrothers, Marshall Kline of Martinsville, Va., and Allen E. Kline of Orinda, Calif., and a stepsister, Adele Cranman of Miami.