David Pitcher, MD, has been named executive physician for the UNM Health System, the organization announced Monday. Pitcher joins a senior leadership team charged with overseeing the system’s efforts to improve performance and meet the challenges posed by health care reform, said Michael Richards, MD, UNM Health System executive physician-in-chief and Steve McKernan, the health system’s chief operating officer.
Pitcher, a specialist in minimally invasive surgery and a longtime faculty member in the UNM School of Medicine, comes to the job after serving in a variety of administrative capacities in the UNM Health Sciences Center, the academic health center of which the Health System is the clinical arm. Most recently, he was the chief medical officer for UNM Hospitals.
“Dr. Pitcher has broad experience in medical administration and proven success as a physician leader,” said Michael E. Richards, MD, the Health System’s executive physician-in-chief. “We look forward to his many contributions in his new role.”
“This is a time of tremendous change in health care, particularly for academic medical centers, and I am very excited and fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of the transformational efforts underway at UNM Health System ” Pitcher said.
Pitcher, a Chicago native who grew up in a military family and graduated high school in El Paso, graduated Texas Tech University with a BS in chemistry, then worked for several years at UNM as a lab technician before enrolling in the UNM School of Medicine in 1982. At the time, his father, Dr. Loren Pitcher, was UNM’s chief medical officer.
Following his graduation in 1986, he completed his general surgery residency and minimally invasive surgical fellowship at UNM and later joined the faculty. In 1999 he became chief of surgery at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, where he later served as interim chief medical officer.
Pitcher became UNM’s assistant dean for clinical affairs in 2002. He was appointed executive medical director in 2006. He became a full professor in 2011, the same year he was appointed UNM’s chief medical officer.
Pitcher is married to Zita, a registered nurse at UNM. His daughter Erin, recently graduated from law school and his son Daniel is a UNM student.
The UNM Health System includes UNM Hospitals (and associated clinics), UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center and the UNM Medical Group, the state’s largest, with more than 1,100 physicians and mid-level providers. Each year, it provides clinical care to hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans.