Dr. David Druker of PAMF dies at home Friday

Longtime Palo Alto physician succumbs to lung cancer after multi-year battle

David Druker, M.D., president and CEO of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and a longtime practicing physician, died at his Los Altos Hills home Friday after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

Druker, a non-smoker, had continued working in reduced capacities until shortly before his condition worsened severely in mid-July.

"We will miss his leadership, his wisdom and his open heart," Jeff Gerard, president of Sutter Health Peninsula Coastal Region, of which the medical foundation was part, said in an announcement of Druker's death.

The Weekly did an extended interview with Dr. Druker June 29, in which he summed up his philosophy of health care and what he felt needs to be done to extend care to more people. The interview is online at:

Gerard's statement:

"It is with profound sorrow that I announce that Dr. David Druker, Chief Executive Officer, Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), passed away at his home today.

"Throughout his almost three-year battle with lung cancer, David demonstrated great personal strength, perseverance, courage and selflessness. We will miss his leadership, his wisdom and his open heart.

"David's passion for excellence has made PAMF the organization it is today. His influence was felt far outside the limits of our own organization, improving the way that care is delivered throughout our region and in the country through many national leadership roles.

"In short, when David talked -- people listened.

"He nurtured open and productive relationships in the communities served by PAMF. He had a particular passion for children and education, and fostered longstanding partnerships with our schools.

David was a healer, a teacher, a visionary, and a mentor to all of us. He had a singular ability to engage the hearts and minds of our trustees, physicians, employees and community around the purpose of creating the very best medical care possible for his community.

"His vision for PAMF was not to create a proprietary model for success, but rather it was his vision to provide a shining example that would serve as a model for others to follow.

"From the beginning, David nurtured a culture of innovation, often being an early adopter of new technologies or creating new ways of delivering patient-centered care.

"It was in recognition of his spirit of leadership and innovation that the PAMF innovation center was recently dedicated as the David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation.

"David was a bridge-builder -- bringing people and organizations together for the betterment of all. As President and CEO of PAMF, he was the architect behind the transformation of PAMF from a group practice in Palo Alto and Fremont to the regional organization that we are today.

"He had a great impact on the development of Sutter Health and was a member of the Sutter Management Team. His counsel regarding the key elements of a physician-directed organization helped shape the Sutter Medical Network and move Sutter Health from a hospital system to a true integrated health system.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Karen, and to the entire Druker family. We do not currently have information regarding services, but I will keep you apprised.

"On Monday, July 26 beginning at noon and continuing throughout the day, the conference centers at PAMF's campuses in Palo Alto and Fremont will be open for those of you who would like to gather among friends and colleagues to remember David.

"Perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to him is to support each other, and to rededicate ourselves to the achievement of David's vision for excellence, innovation and caring."

-- Jeff Gerard

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