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Ruth Carr Program for Physician Vitality

Through research and partnering, the Ruth Carr Program for Physician Vitality examines the meaning and challenge of being a physician today. Its activities are especially aimed at advancing the success of female physicians. In today’s context of rapid change and consolidation in health care, there is an urgent need for physicians to maintain a sense of purpose at work, utilize their reflective capacity, and nurture supportive relationships with colleagues. Unfortunately, a large literature suggests that many physicians struggle with emotional exhaustion and declining satisfaction and that they commit suicide at rates much higher than expected. Physician distress can compromise care quality and inhibit the compassionate engagement that is core to patient-centered care. The Program explores strategies to prevent physician distress, isolation, and suicide; to help physicians to build shared purpose; and to renew their vitality at work.


About Ruth Carr

Ruth Margaret Carr, M.D. was born in Waco, Texas in 1951 and raised on military bases in Alaska, Idaho and Alabama. She attended Texas Christian University where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated summa cum laude in 1973. She began her medical training at Harvard Medical School and then received her M.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. She completed a general surgery residency at the University of Oklahoma and a pathology residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. In 1983, she completed a plastic surgery residency at UCLA.

Dr. Carr practiced plastic surgery in the Los Angeles area for 28 years, beginning her career at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles and then building a successful private practice in Santa Monica. Dr. Carr was also a clinical professor in the departments of plastic and reconstructive surgery at both USC and UCLA. Dr. Carr was a longtime supporter and volunteer for Interplast (now ReSurge International), travelling to Asia, Africa, Central and South America to provide reconstructive surgery to poor and underserved communities and to train local doctors in reconstructive surgical techniques.

Dr. Carr’s remarkable talent and unflappable gracefulness inspired confidence and devotion from her colleagues and patients. She was a beloved wife and the loving mother of two sons. Dr. Carr passed away on May 7, 2009.


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