Death of Dr. Samuel P. Martin

Dr. Samuel Preston Martin, III, an innovator in the field of medical education and management, died of lymphoma in Gainesville, Florida, on May 2. He was 80 years of age.

Dr. Martin was professor emeritus of medicine and health care systems at Penn. During his quarter century here he was professor of medicine, executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, chairman of the Health Care Systems Unit of the Wharton School, master of Ware College Health and Society House, founding Director of the Robert Wood Clinical Scholars Program, for fellowship training in the social, behavioral and management sciences for board certified physicians.

A leader in developing the M.B.A. Program in Health Care Management at the Wharton School, he taught in it for some two decades. Since 1970, the program has graduated more than 100 physicians with an M.B.A. degree.

He was born May 2, 1916, in East Prairie, Missouri, a community of 600 where his father was a general practitioner. After receiving his medical education at Washington University of St. Louis, he pursued his house officer training at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

In September 1946, as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps, Dr. Martin—a veteran Arctic explorer and woodsman—led the team that rescued the survivors of a Sabena transatlantic airliner that crashed in a dense forest southwest of Gander, Newfoundland. For his heroic efforts he was awarded the Belgian Order of Leopold.

Dr. Martin was a Markle Scholar from 1950 to 1955 and began his academic career at the Duke University Medical Center as an assistant professor in medicine. He was recruited in 1956 to the newly organized School of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville, as professor and head of the Department of Medicine.

Subsequently he was appointed Provost for Health Affairs of the J. Hillis Miller Health Center the teaching medical complex for the University of Florida, comprising schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and the University teaching hospital.

In 1970 he spent a sabbatical year at the Harvard Medical School and the London School of Economics pursuing his interests in health services research. It was at this time that he was recruited to a newly organized Department of Community Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and at age 54 began his remarkable career Penn.

Over the years, Dr. Martin has served as a consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Office of Education, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. For more than a decade he served on the Board of Directors of SmithKline Beckman Corporation. He also served as a consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Revered by his colleagues and students, Dr. Martin enjoyed their awe and affection. At 6'4" he was an imposing figure. His long and varied career provided a wealth of stories, some told with tongue in cheek. A father figure to many young women and men in the medical profession, he will be remembered for his astute counsel and warm and gentle demeanor so reminiscent of the beloved country doctor. Always an innovator, he probed boundaries and constraints of conventional wisdom in search of creative resolutions for seemingly insurmountable problems in the American health care enterprise.

A memorial service will be announced in the fall for Dr. Martin, who is survived by his first wife, Ruth Campbell Martin, three children—Dr. Samuel Preston Martin IV, Dr. William Barry Martin, and Dr. Celia Martin—and by five grandchildren. His second wife, Dorothy Everett Martin died in February 1996.

William Kissick, George Seckel Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine