Dr. John Saultz to step down as chair of family medicine

Transition will occur at end of academic year

November 10, 2015

John SaultzAfter 17 years as chair of the Department of Family Medicine, John Saultz, M.D., will step down at the end of this academic year (June 30, 2016). Dr. Saultz will remain on the OHSU School of Medicine faculty as professor of family medicine and will continue to teach, provide patient care and conduct research.

"Over the next few months, I will be sorting out my future plans. I do not intend to retire, but have decided to make this change because I am ready for something new at this point in my life," Dr. Saultz said in making the announcement to his faculty. "I have been planning this transition for two years, and the department is in a strong position across all our mission areas."

Under Dr. Saultz's leadership, the Department of Family Medicine has risen to national prominence, recognized for its advocacy for community health and for innovative initiatives that help advance the specialty and support patient-centered primary care access. The department was an early supporter of the concept of the primary care home and has been instrumental in helping shape aspects of Oregon's current health care transformation. The department currently ranks in the top 10 nationally for several metrics, including its family medicine residency programs, medical student education and research.

"The department is a source of pride for the school and OHSU," said Dean Mark Richardson. "Dr. Saultz has provided exceptional leadership for nearly two decades, not only within OHSU but at the national level. While we will miss his leadership, I am pleased he will remain an active member of our faculty and look forward to his continuing contributions to OHSU."

With a faculty of 125, the department currently sponsors four family health centers in the Portland area and a residency program in Klamath Falls. Together, these five practices are responsible for about 200,000 outpatient visits and 2,300 OHSU hospital admissions annually. The department's university-based residency program is noted as among the most competitive in the nation, attracting a large and diverse pool of applicants. The rural residency in Klamath Falls is a national leader in the percent of graduates entering rural practice. Family medicine faculty members are integrally involved in the undergraduate medical education program, both in teaching and leadership. With a strong commitment to outreach, many of the department's graduates practice in rural or underserved settings. Research and scholarship are also core to the departmental mission, with a current emphasis on comparative effectiveness, health policy, educational and primary care practice transformation research. In FY 2014, the department received $6.7 million in sponsored project awards and ranked 6th nationally among family medicine departments in funding from the National Institutes of Health*.

Dr. Saultz has held many national leadership positions, including president of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and president of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians. He is currently the editor of the journal Family Medicine. He is widely published, a sought-after speaker and has received numerous distinguished awards. In 2013, Dr. Saultz was named Family Physician of the Year by the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.

"Dr. Saultz has consistently anticipated changes in the external environment and has worked to respond in ways that have built the department into its current success," said Dean Richardson. "I, along with deans who have come before me, am grateful for his visionary leadership."

Per protocol, Dean Richardson will convene an internal and external review of the department which will include input from faculty, staff, residents and others to develop information, plan for the department's continued long-term success and support a leadership transition.

Additional information, as it becomes available, will be provided in the coming months related to this leadership transition. Please send questions or input to somdeansoffice@ohsu.edu.

*according to the Blue Ridge Institute http://www.brimr.org/