In memoriam: Michael J. Miller, M.D. (1933-2018)

Feb. 28, 2018

Mike Miller, M.D.The OHSU School of Medicine announces with great sadness that Michael J. Miller, M.D. '60 R '63, professor emeritus of pediatrics, former professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, former associate dean of student affairs, died Feb. 12, following a short illness. Dr. Miller was an admired friend, colleague, mentor and outstanding physician. He contributed greatly to the clinical and educational missions of the school for nearly 50 years.

Dr. Miller joined the OHSU faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor of pediatrics, following a fellowship at Stanford University in infectious diseases. Dedicated to children's health, Dr. Miller practiced as a professor in pediatrics for 30 years at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

A legacy in education

"Mike was a giant in pediatrics and the entire medical school," said Dana Braner, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.M., chair and professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine. "[He] always had a deeper knowledge of the world, which he showed with his insightful wit, his incredibly easy manner and the compassion that hung around him like the warmest of jackets. As I look at our landscape today and the many things in it that are sometimes difficult to explain, I often hear Mike's voice in my head uttering a single word: BAZAWA."

A five-time Allan J. Hill teaching award recipient, Dr. Miller was a beloved educator in the School of Medicine. Remembered for his weekly "Miller Rounds," when he would gather with medical students doing their pediatric rotations to review infections disease cases, Dr. Miller mentored and trained many students during his time at OHSU. In addition to his traditional instruction, Dr. Miller contributed his own time to teach critical thinking and diagnostic strategies in an informal setting to any student who wished to attend. A popular twice-a-week event, his students named these sessions "Miller Time."

"I will always remember him as one of the greatest teachers in my training," said Erin Madriago, M.D. R '07 F '10, assistant professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine. "One of my favorite memories of him was during a field trip to the farmer's market. Besides picking up some choice tomatoes, we took a drive by many of the Portland fountains. We each then had to guess which microorganisms were living in those fountains and the various ways in which they would invade the bodies of and inflict disease upon the people playing in them. Such a hilarious, fascinating, enthusiastic, brilliant and contagious teacher."

A Portland native, Dr. Miller earned his medical degree from OHSU in 1960. After completing his residency in pediatrics at OHSU, Dr. Miller attended the Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation as an NIH trainee in allergy, immunology and infectious disease. He then went on to complete a fellowship at Stanford University before returning to OHSU as faculty.

Remembering a leader

During his time with OHSU, Dr. Miller also served in a leadership role. From 1977 to 1983, he served as assistant dean for student affairs, prior to his appointment of associate dean for student affairs in 1983. Dr. Miller held this role through his retirement in 1997. Following retirement, he continued to serve the OHSU School of Medicine as professor emeritus of pediatrics and a consultant in the division of pediatric infectious diseases.

An expert in his field, Dr. Miller belonged to many committees and served the greater Portland Metro area hospitals as an infectious disease consultant. Dr. Miller also worked as an attending teaching physician at Providence Hospital in Portland from 1972 to 1986. His dedication to education is reflected in the OHSU Michael Miller Faculty Teaching Award. This award is given annually to a pediatric faculty member who exemplifies Dr. Miller's passion for teaching. The graduating OHSU medical students choose the recipient of this award each spring.

There are several memorial service gatherings planned to honor Dr. Miller:

Rosary Prayer Service

March 8, 2018, 6:30 pm.
Riverview Abbey
319 S.W. Taylor's Ferry Rd.
Portland, OR

Memorial Service

March 9, 2018, 11 a.m.
St. Mary's Cathedral
1716 N.W. Davis St.
Portland, OR


March 9, 2018, 1 p.m.
The Racquet Club
1853 S.W. Highland Rd.
Portland, OR

View The Oregonian obituary

Photo courtesy of the OHSU Historical Collections and Archives.