Resolution of Condolence: Jonathan R. Sugarman, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Brought by: AAFP Delegation, King County Chapter
Adopted by unanimous consent by the 2024 House of Delegates

WHEREAS, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians and the medical community across Washington state suffered a devasting loss when Jonathan R. Sugarman, MD, MPH, FAAFP, of Seattle, died on May 1, 2023, at age 69, and

WHEREAS, Dr. Sugarman was a nationally regarded expert on health policy, and

WHEREAS, he was a former president of the WAFP and the King County Academy of Family Physicians; officer with the WAFP Foundation; and WAFP Westside delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates from 2013 to 2019, and

WHEREAS, he was born in Atlanta, graduated high school in Needham, MA, and earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Boston, and

WHEREAS, Dr. Sugarman earned his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and

WHEREAS, to the surprise of his academic mentors, he did not pursue a career in neuroscience research but instead matched into the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Program in Seattle, and

WHEREAS, the early years of Dr. Sugarman’s career involved tribal health, first caring for Native Americans in Shiprock, NM, and

WHEREAS, in 1990, he completed a preventive medicine residency and earned a master’s in public health at the University of Washington, using that knowledge in his role as an epidemiologist with the Indian Health Service in Seattle, and

WHEREAS, he joined Qualis Health in 1995, a firm specializing in health care quality consulting, care management services, and quality improvement services, and

WHEREAS, Dr. Sugarman served as president and chief executive officer at Qualis from 2000 until 2018, when it merged with HealthInsight to form Comagine Health, and

WHEREAS, from 2018 to 2020, he served as executive director of Global to Local, a Seattle-area nonprofit which aims to advance health equity in communities across the US, and

WHEREAS, he formerly chaired the AAFP Commission on Quality and Scope of Practice (2006-07) and was a former winner of the AAFP’s Mead Johnson Award for Graduate Education in Family Practice (1983) and McNeil Award for Clinical Research by Family Practice Residents (1984), and

WHEREAS, Dr. Sugarman served in numerous advisory and leadership positions, including as National Quality Forum Health Professionals Stakeholder Council Leader; CMS Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Expert; as an executive committee member of the American Medical Association Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement; and board member and president of the American Health Quality Association, and

WHEREAS, he served for many years as a clinical professor of global health and family medicine at the University of Washington, and

WHEREAS, in news coverage of his death, colleagues remembered him as caring, compassionate, and innovative, and

WHEREAS, Jeanne Cawse-Lucas, MD, faculty at the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine, told MedPage Today, “Many people thought of him as a brilliant human and a visionary who really had a community-minded approach to the quality of care. He was a person who was both able to think about individual, local, [and] community level impacts and think about things on a global scale … He made these incredible public health impacts, but also really thought like a family doctor,” and

WHEREAS, though his professional accomplishments were substantial, Dr. Sugarman will also be remembered for his tireless dedication to his family, including his wife, Terese Sullivan, and his daughter, Maya Sugarman, and

WHEREAS, one of his passions outside of medicine was mountaineering, rediscovered after a 2010 trip with a college friend to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa, and

WHEREAS, in the years since, Dr. Sugarman also summited the highest mountains in North America (Denali in Alaska) and South America (Aconcagua in Argentina), in addition to his 13 ascents of Mount Rainier, and

WHEREAS, he died in Nepal at Advanced Base Camp while attempting to climb Mount Everest — “he passed while doing something he loved so much,” his daughter recounted — now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Washington Academy of Family Physicians celebrate the life and career of Dr. Jonathan R. Sugarman, and recognize his many contributions to health policy in Washington and across the country, to the specialty of family medicine, and to the communities he served, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Washington Academy of Family Physicians expresses deep sorrow and sense of loss for the death of Dr. Jonathan R. Sugarman, and send a copy of this resolution of condolence as an expression of deep sympathy and high professional regard to his family: wife Terese Sullivan and daughter Maya Sugarman.