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Published on April 30, 2010

Lee Murdoch, MD, receives annual S.V. Carpenter Award for healthcare leadership

Asante recognized Lee Murdoch, MD, as the recipient of the 2010 Alfred S.V. Carpenter Award at a special ceremony and banquet on April 30.

"Asante is a stronger organization and a better community partner thanks to Dr. Murdoch's leadership," said Roy Vinyard, president and CEO of Asante. "Asante is a community owned, not-for-profit organization guided by local citizens such as Dr. Murdoch who are dedicated to their community. It is because of them that we can provide such a high level of care to the people we serve."

Started in 1984, the annual award recognizes health-related philanthropic leadership in the Rogue Valley. Recipients have devoted extraordinary time, talent and treasure to philanthropic endeavors; provided unique leadership and wisdom; and demonstrated compassion and understanding in promoting a healthy community. Every time a patient receives care at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, we can thank the Carpenter Award recipients and all those who have helped with their selfless, philanthropic work.

A Quiet Hero

Lee Murdoch, MD, is described by Diana, his wife of 52 years, as a creative thinker, an incredibly hard worker, and a calm person. For the community, he is a quiet hero who has devoted his life to improving healthcare in the Rogue Valley.

A practicing pediatrician in Medford since 1966, Dr. Murdoch has made a difference to Rogue Valley children and their families for more than four decades. He continues to impact healthcare by volunteering at the Community Health Center and through his work with Asante's Information Technology department as liaison to the medical staff to facilitate implementation of Asante's Electronic Health Record.

Dr. Murdoch was among a group of pediatricians who inspired the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center board of trustees to build a pediatric wing to include a neonatal unit. The late Brandt Bartels, MD, also a pediatrician and a trustee in the late 1960s, led a board tour of the Rogue Regional Medical Center wing where children were being treated. "They saw a three-bed room jammed full of cribs with sick infants," Dr. Murdoch recalls. The new pediatric pavilion was built and opened in 1971.

A Nebraskan, Dr. Murdoch earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska. He interned at King County Hospital (now Harborview) in Seattle before serving three years at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. The Murdochs have four children and nine grandchildren. Sara and Mary are pediatricians. Kent is a software engineer at Microsoft, and Paul owns and manages Jacksonville's Gary West Meats.

Dr. Murdoch completed his residency in pediatrics at Oregon Health Sciences University. He finished the residency in 1966 and was attracted to Medford, where his long-time friend and medical school classmate, Roger Hutchings, MD, was practicing. "After visiting the area, I realized this was an excellent medical community with an almost new hospital (Asante Rogue Regional)," he says.

Dr. Murdoch and his young family moved south, and he joined the old Medford Clinic.

"It was a small, very collegial medical community," he says. "In 1966 there were no ER physicians. Everybody took a turn managing the ER. It was a fun time to practice."

During the early years, Dr. Murdoch sometimes made house calls, which he describes as "incredibly fun," and occasionally drove critically ill patients to the hospital.

In 1982 he established a solo practice, and eight years later his first partner, Barbara Sibley, MD joined him. Now called Southern Oregon Pediatrics, the clinic is an eight-physician practice, including his daughter Mary.  He retired in 2001, but returned to the clinic part-time until 2006 and now helps out during emergencies such as the recent flu outbreak.

Dr. Murdoch says he "took his turn" at leadership positions such as Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center chief of staff and president of the Medford Clinic. But his deepest passion was always practicing medicine.

"Practice was energizing," he says.  "New vaccines have been developed which have made a number of dreaded diseases very rare. I worked long hours and loved the challenges. It's been a great life."

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