SPS member profile: Mary K. McCarthy, MD


Mary K. McCarthy, MD

Mary K. McCarthy, MD

Chair, Senior Physicians Group, Oregon Medical Association

  • Current Representative, Oregon Medical Association BOT for the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association
  • Past Speaker of the House, OMA BOT
  • Past President, Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association
  • Past President, Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland

Location: Portland, Oregon

Specialty: Psychiatry 

Q: As Chair of the Committee on Senior Physicians at the Oregon Medical Association, can you tell us how the group got started and how many members there are currently?

A: The Oregon Medical Association (OMA) monthly Senior Physicians Group began in 2019 as part of the Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland started by 3 physicians; Henry Grass, MD, Mary McCarthy, MD, and Marvin Rosen, MD. The Senior Group is for physicians/physician assistants over 65 or retired (even if younger than 65). 

Our first meeting was in person, attended by 11 physicians, including Richard “Dick” Allen, MD, past chair of the AMA’s Senior Physicians Section. We started as an informal group discussing what our focus should be. This included discussing the “new identity” as a retired person, struggles with personal medical problems, and a place to keep connected with old friends (and to meet new ones). Dick started off at our first meeting giving information about the activities of the AMA Senior Physicians Section for his term on the Governing Council. 

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Each month, the Senior Physician Section highlights members and individuals to showcase their work, current efforts and insights.

Q: How does the organization provide social and fellowship opportunities for senior physician members?  

A: Over time our numbers expanded, with some meetings attended by around 30 persons (these numbers were beyond our wildest dreams). We morphed into a 2-part meeting with the first 45 minutes being a check-in time for introductions and informal discussions of whatever topics people bring up. 

The second 45 minutes are now held open for a scheduled speaker with time for Q&A. Topics have varied from how the streets of Portland, Oregon, were named, Alaska & Wilderness Medicine, timely talks about Medicare, how to navigate selection of health insurance policies, to presentations on state ballot measures. Many of our members have volunteered to give talks on topics of their expertise or have contacted potential speakers they know. 

Q: Is your group affiliated with other educational institutions to advance its mission? 

A: Our group was assimilated into the Oregon Medical Association at the beginning of 2021. During the expansion of the COVID pandemic we went from in person to video conferencing. We missed the in-person contact but were thankful for the ability to stay in touch by video. This also allowed us to expand potential members to the entire State of Oregon, not just to the metropolitan Portland area. 

More recently Sam Metz, MD, one of our long-standing members, has taken a more active role in finding speakers for future meetings. We’ve had invaluable assistance from Kris Bilderback, Executive Assistant, to the CEO of the OMA. 

Q: Does you group advocate at the federal and state levels on key health care issues impacting patients and physicians? 

A: Not at this time, although the OMA has a Day at the Legislature coming up on April 17 and our members can attend that. Some past speakers have recommended individual advocacy around Medicare and prescription issues, but our group has not formally advocated for these issues.    

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