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James Martin, MD

1986-87 Fellow 

Chief Medical Officer
Minor & James Medical
Seattle, Washington

What impact did the Sarnoff Fellowship year have on your career?

The Sarnoff fellowship opened my eyes to the role and value of critical thinking, careful listening, and of always asking the "what next?” question. This has carried through to my role as a primary care internist, as well as my role as the Chief Medical Officer of a multispecialty medical group. In addition, my fellowship year taught me the value of data: collecting it, looking at it from different angles, and using it wisely and ethically to answer questions, or to pose new questions. One way this has helped me in my current role is quality improvement, which is one of my primary responsibilities in my role as CMO.


Why should medical students consider the Sarnoff Fellowship apart from other programs?

Sarnoff is unique in that it began as a small family, and though it has grown, remains focused on the core values of its founder, Dr. Stanley Sarnoff. Not a meeting goes by that he is not mentioned. He managed to create a culture that both nurtures and challenges young investigators in a very positive way.


What are your professional aspirations?

Currently, I am hoping to move the medical group I work for into the position of "best practices” for as many quality and service measures as possible. I would like to make Minor and James Medical the best place to work, practice and receive care.


What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

I have had a quietly unspectacular career, which is just fine. I have enjoyed great satisfaction in being a primary care physician for the past 20 years, with the privilege of playing such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people. I did set my sights on becoming CMO of our medical group by the time I was 50 years old, and did actually hit that mark at 49.


I am very proud of the progress the medical group has made since I became CMO in terms of the development of quality programs and improvements in patient care and safety, improving physician satisfaction and morale, customer service, and overall financial performance. I have been part of a very cohesive leadership team that has worked together to achieve these goals.


What is your most memorable Sarnoff moment?

Without a doubt, giving my fellowship presentation back in 1987. I agonized over what questions were likely to be asked, especially by Dr. Arnold Katz. I guessed what he would ask, and made sure I had a good answer. And guess what? He never asked it, but Dr. Sarnoff did!


What are your hobbies?

Chasing kids, playing golf when I can, skiing with my family, tinkering around in my house and yard. I want to redevelop my fly fishing skills, and start vegetable gardening again. Now that my kids are a little older (13 and 10), I think I should be able to pull it off.


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