In memoriam: Cynthia L. Ferrell, M.D., M.S.Ed. (1966-2017)

March 8, 2017

Dr. Cynthia FerrellThe OHSU School of Medicine announces with great sadness that Cynthia L. Ferrell, M.D. R '96, M.S.Ed., F.A.A.P., professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine, died Feb. 24 of complications from synovial cell sarcoma, at the age of 50. Dr. Ferrell, known as "Cindy" to colleagues across the organization, was also director of the pediatrics residency program for nine years.

Dr. Ferrell was a stalwart advocate for children in her practice as a general pediatrician at Doernbecher Children's Hospital and an impactful leader in the Graduate Medical Education community. Dr. Ferrell enjoyed working with patients and their families as a way to teach both patient and parent in being an active participant in a child's healthy upbringing. This natural desire to teach translated directly to her service in the education mission, which included roles within the Department of Pediatrics, the School of Medicine M.D. program and GME.

Dr. Ferrell received her medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in 1992, then came to OHSU as a pediatrics resident, serving as chief resident in 1995-1996. Dr. Ferrell was then recruited to join the School of Medicine faculty, serving as assistant professor from 1996 to 2007, then as associate professor until her promotion to professor in 2016. She earned a Master of Science in Education degree from University of Southern California in 2003.

Dana Braner, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.M., professor and chair of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine, introduced Dr. Ferrell during the annual promotion and tenure reception last year, calling her a highly skilled, tireless and devoted clinician and teacher of the next generation of pediatricians. "As a pediatrician, I know it's wrong to have a favorite child," he said. "But I do, and it is Cindy Ferrell."

Dr. Ferrell was passionate about education and was influential in shaping the OHSU pediatrics residency program during a time of significant change in national accreditation standards. Her scholarly work focused on curriculum development and evaluation. She was a frequent presenter at a national level on various educational topics targeted to residency program directors, fellowship program directors, medical student clerkship directors and faculty educators. At a regional level, she was involved in research collaborations that studied educational interventions and outcomes.

Her commitment to the education mission was recognized through numerous teaching awards. Dr. Ferrell was chosen as an exceptional mentor by the M.D. classes of 2015 and 2014, and as a distinguished lecturer by the School of Medicine Division of Continuing Professional Development in 2015. Among numerous departmental awards, she received the Joseph Bilderback Outstanding Clinical Teaching Award for a Faculty Member from the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Residency Program in both 1999 and 2003.

Dr. Ferrell was active in both local and national pediatrics groups, including membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics, Oregon Pediatric Society, Academic Pediatric Association and Association of Pediatric Program Directors.

The Department of Pediatrics and Dr. Ferrell's family invite colleagues and friends to join them in a celebration of Dr. Ferrell's life:

Celebration of Life
Sunday, April 9, 2-5 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building
2730 S.W. Moody Ave., Portland, OR 97239 (directions and parking)
RSVP and questions to

To make a gift to the Cindy Ferrell Endowment for Pediatric Residency, please visit the fund online or contact the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation: 1121 S.W. Salmon St. Suite 100 Portland, OR 97205. To make a contribution to the Cindy Ferrell Benefit Memorial Fund, please visit any Wells Fargo Branch or contribute online.