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Remembering Peter Sommers, MD

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It with sadness that we share the news that Peter Sommers, MD, distinguished faculty member in the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine for over three decades, and former director of UCSF-SFGH Family and Community Medicine Residency Program, has passed away.

Dr. Sommers grew up in Georgia and trained in pediatrics in Philadelphia. In 1972, the year of the founding of the UCSF-SFGH FCM Residency Program, Peter and his wife Lucia migrated to San Francisco to be part of the exciting emergence of a new training program emphasizing whole person care and social justice. After spending his first year at UCSF-SFGH as a fellow in Ambulatory and Community Medicine, Dr. Sommers joined the UCSF faculty. He served as residency director from 1978-1989, and then again in an interim role in 1997-1999.

Over the years, Dr. Sommers was a PI of numerous training grants, resulting in more than $8 million of funding to the campus. In 2007, he was given the California Academy of Family Physician’s award for Educational Excellence.

Dr. Sommers played a key role in guiding the UCSF-SFGH Family and Community Medicine Residency Program from its formative stages into a mature and thriving program. He was a master at writing successful grants to federal and state workforce agencies that brought in funding to solidify the residency’s teaching programs and expand the number of residents trained. He helped develop and implement innovative curricula emphasizing family systems, including the FOOM curriculum that continues to this day. He had a passion for supporting the development of clinician educators.

Committed to cultivating and mentoring junior faculty, Dr. Sommers directed the UCSF Northern California Faculty Development Fellowship Program (NCFDFP), a regional faculty development program incorporating the family medicine academic units within UCSF, UC Davis, and Stanford. Dedicated to meeting the faculty development needs of junior and mid-career family physicians, general internal medicine, and general pediatrician faculty members, the NCFDFP prepares faculty members to acquire skills in teaching, educational leadership, scholarship, academic career development, and lifelong, collaborative learning.

“Peter Sommers brought a reflective, meticulous, deliberative approach to all he did. He was residency director when I trained in the program, and I benefited from his exemplary stewardship of the residency. He also made a deep impression on me as a teacher and clinician,” said Kevin Grumbach, MD, Hellman Endowed Professor and Chair of the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine. “As we approach the 40th anniversary of the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine, it is important that we celebrate the remarkable people who helped make the department the amazing community it has become. Peter was one of those people.”

Dr. Sommers will be dearly missed by his many friends and colleagues at UCSF and throughout the world. On behalf of the School of Medicine, we would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends, and close colleagues.