New roles for two Providence physician leaders

Below is a message from Kevin Olson, M.D., chief executive, Clinical Programs and Services, Providence Oregon:

Dear Colleagues,

I want to update you on some changes for two of our physician leaders.

First, after seven years serving as Oregon's chief medical officer, Dr. Steve Freer has decided to step down from that role and return to his educational roots as the Brill Chair of Medicine at Providence St. Vincent. Dr. Freer joined Providence in 2003, succeeding Kenneth E.W. Melvin, M.D., as the second Isidor Brill Chair of Medicine, and will once again be focusing his time and energy within Providence on the education and development of future physicians.

This is a personal and professional decision for Steve, and I want you to hear directly from him:

“It's with mixed feelings that I have decided to step down from the role of regional CMO in Oregon. The past seven years have been gratifying and professionally rewarding, in particular serving the region and the community over the past 18 months through this COVID pandemic. I have been truly blessed to work with an extraordinary group of administrative and medical staff leaders. I have learned from all of you, and I cherish the relationships and friendships that have grown over these years.

But there are other important things that also require my attention, and I’ve decided that it is best for the region if the critical functions of the CMO have the full focus and energy of someone who can attend to those duties undistracted. I began my medical career in a teaching role 30 years ago, and through all these years teaching has been an important part of my professional identity. I look forward to returning to my first love, helping students and residents become skilled and compassionate doctors."

Dr. Freer will continue to cover key duties of the office of the CMO until a new one can be recruited and hired. He will be assisted by other members of the regional medical staff leadership team in filling other administrative duties in the interim while the search for a new regional CMO occurs.

Secondly, Dr. Tom Lorish will be transitioning out of his role as medical director for our orthopedic institute. Dr. Lorish will use this opportunity to focus on his role as chief executive for business affiliations, physician strategy and outreach. We will begin a selection process, with a target date of Jan. 1, 2022, to have a new medical director in place. I will work with our regional program orthopedic medical directors, ministry orthopedic department chairs, and employed and surgical representatives to help determine the best candidate to step into this role. 

I know you join me in congratulating Steve and Tom on these new chapters in their professional lives.


Kevin Olson, M.D.
Chief Executive, Clinical Programs and Services, Providence Oregon

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