January 09, 2023

In Memoriam: the passing of Dr. Susan Runyan, faculty member in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Dear Colleagues,

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of a cherished colleague, Dr. Susan Runyan, a faculty member in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics and a member of the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) Geriatrics, Palliative, and Extended Care Service Line. Sue passed away on January 2, 2023 after being admitted to an ICU in Seattle following an accident while on holiday.

Sue was a graduate of the UCSF School of Medicine and was a family physician who practiced at Lakeshore Faculty Practice and in the community for several years before completing her Geriatric Medicine Fellowship in June 2022. She also held a master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley School of Public Health and completed a Family Medicine Residency at University of Washington School of Medicine and a Rural Family Medicine Fellowship at the Tacoma Family Medicine Residency Program. 

In September 2022, Dr. Runyan joined the UCSF faculty and began working in the
San Francisco VAHCS Community Living Center. She was passionate about teaching and collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, as evidenced by her receipt of both the UCSF Award for Excellence in Collaboration and the Excellence in Direct Clinical Teaching award.

Sue cherished working with older Veterans and the SFVAHCS Community Living Center team. Everyone who worked with her could see her excitement about being a Geriatrician and the kindness and dedication she brought to the world. She was extremely gentle with her patients while being a forceful advocate for them. Faculty and fellows from the Geriatrics Division recently gathered to share their grief and memories of Sue. Many of them talked about her devotion to her work and her patients, and how she inspired everyone to be better doctors and better people. One faculty member said that, while many are devoted to their work, “Sue was in a league of her own.”

We extend our deepest condolences to Doug Ross, her husband, and their children, Russ Ross and Jenny Ross, and their family and many friends. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 8 at 3:00 PM at Peninsula Temple Sholom (1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame). The service will also be streamed on Zoom.

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Helen Chen, MD
Professor of Medicine
Associate Chief of Staff, Geriatrics, Palliative and Extended Care, San Francisco VA Medical Center

Louise C. Walter, MD
Professor of Medicine

Chief, Division of Geriatrics
UCSF and San Francisco VA Medical Center

Robert M. Wachter, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine