OMA Installs First African American President

PORTLAND, Ore.—(October 10, 2018)—At their Annual Conference on Saturday, September 29, 2018, the members of the Oregon Medical Association (OMA), the state’s largest advocacy association for physicians and physician assistants, met around the theme of “Medicine Now: Healthcare’s Role in Activating Social Change,” and installed the association’s 144th president.

“Medicine Now” attracted over 200 attendees. The event included keynote addresses by Esther Choo, MD of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, who spoke on the topic of acknowledging sexual harassment and gender bias in medicine; and journalist Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, who discussed the history and root causes of the nation’s opiate epidemic.

In addition, Brian Gibbs, MPA, PhD, OHSU’s Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, led a panel on gun violence as a public health issue.

Kevin Reavis, MD, a bariatric a surgeon at The Oregon Clinic, ended his tenure as the organization’s 143rd president, figuratively passing the baton to his successor, 144th OMA President Fred C. Williams, MD, a neurosurgeon at Tuality Healthcare of Hillsboro and the association’s first African American president.

Dr. Williams devoted much of his presidential acceptance remarks to a call for leaders in Oregon’s healthcare industry to work toward increased recognition of diversity in the state, and to promote a more equitable and just Oregon for all its communities.

Other conference presenters included Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, MPH (D – Portland), and Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, MD, JD, FACEPMegan Furnari, MD, an OHSU pediatrician, served as conference emcee.

During the daylong event, Kirk D. Wolfe, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in private practice and a clinical assistant professor at OHSU, received the OMA’s 2018 Doctor-Citizen of the Year Award. J. Pearce Beissinger, MS, PA-C, a physician assistant at the Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular Clinic, was recipient of the association’s inaugural Physician Assistant-Citizen of the Year Award.

Kevin Ewanchyna, MD, a family physician who serves as the chief medical officer for both Samaritan Health Plan Operations and the InterCommunity Health Network CCO, was installed as president-elect for a 2019-20 term as OMA president, and was also recognized with an OMA Presidential Citation for his work serving as chief spokesperson for the OMA’s diabetes prevention efforts. 

OMA CEO Bryan Boehringer commented that facilitating physicians and physician assistants in engaging in social change is core to the association’s mission. 

“Healthcare professionals are uniquely positioned to serve as leaders in their communities, but their schedules often do not allow for a great deal of extracurricular effort,” said Boehringer.

“It’s the job of the Oregon Medical Association to connect members with resources and opportunities to make a difference,” Boehringer continued, “and I think the conference’s speakers and guests—including elected officials—is a promising method of engagement.”

Dr. Williams, the association’s incoming president, graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in mathematics from the University of California, Irvine. He graduated with his medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he earned the Award for Excellence in Physiology and was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.

Dr. Williams completed residencies at the Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center of Phoenix, Arizona and at the Irvine Medical Center at UC Irvine. Dr. Williams is board-certified and has numerous publications to his credit.

Prior to beginning his work at Tuality Healthcare in 2014, Dr. Williams held appointments at Hillsboro Neurosurgical Associates and the Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group of Fresno. At the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, he held the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery, for five years. At the Tucson Veterans Administration Medical Center, Dr. Williams served as Chief of Neurosurgery.

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