Samuel P. Martin III, MD

Samuel P. Martin III, MD

The annual Samuel Martin, III, MD Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of a man whose vision was to develop a new breed of leaders and thinkers in American medicine - men and women whose training in more than the clinical practice of medicine would equip them with new ways of looking at the world.

Dr. Martin joined the Penn faculty in 1970 after a distinguished early academic career at Duke University, where he was a Markle Scholar and later a professor, and at the University of Florida at Gainesville, where he was the School of Medicine's first chairman and subsequently Provost for Health Affairs.

At the young age of 39, he created Duke's residency program, making it the best in the country. He built the University of Florida's School of Medicine, and while there was the first to create the hospital ward manager and merge the medical chart, putting doctors' and nurses' notes on the same page. Sam spent more than a quarter of a century at the University of Pennsylvania, where he championed innovative programs and careers for students in health, management, and social sciences.  He was founding director of both the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program for young physicians and the Dana Scholars Program for medical students.

He helped to establish the MBA Program in Health Care Management at Penn's Wharton School and developed the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics into a major health services research entity.

In the late 1970s, with his wife Dorothy, he envisioned and helped launch Penn's first thematic college house. The Ware College House for Health and Society gave undergraduates interested in all the health disciplines, regardless of their major, an opportunity to live and learn together.

In 1978, Sam and Dorothy moved from Philadelphia's exclusive Rittenhouse Square to the Ware College House, where he became its first live-in master.

It was in the close circle of these premier programs at Penn that Dr. Martin made perhaps his greatest and most cherished contribution as a mentor for an entire generation of physician leaders in academic medicine and public policy.

It is a little known fact that most of the world's first doctors to receive MBAs in the 1970s and 1980s did so at the University of Pennsylvania under Sam's leadership and vision.

Considered one of the last of the post-World War II generation of great leaders in American medicine, Sam Martin physically and spiritually dominated the contemporary health care scene at Penn as well as throughout the nation and the world.

The 6-foot, 4-inch son of a Missouri country doctor and great grandson of a Revolutionary War physician, Sam's natural charm and unassuming dignity enabled him to prod the careers of scores of gifted young men and women in medicine and health care. A born teacher and a storyteller in the tradition of Mark Twain, he seemed never to impose his own beliefs on others. Instead, he excelled at motivating young people to understand and cultivate their own special talents and was a master at catalyzing groups of strong-willed professionals into reaching constructive consensus. Nothing was more important to him professionally than guiding and helping people.  He devoted his entire career to addressing how his chosen profession might do a better job of it, and to arousing in like-minded colleagues similar passion and dedication.