“...grounded in science, guided by empathy and compassion.”

Everyday Heroes Physician Recognition

All Media Featuring Walter Mills, MD

Walter Mills, MD

2008 Everyday Hero

Family Medicine
Santa Rosa

When the Family Medicine Residency at Sutter Hospital faced closure two years ago, Kaiser Permanente jumped into action to rescue the highly regarded program. It turned to two of its finest doctors to lead the effort – Helen Hammer, MD and Walt Mills, MD.

Like generations before them, Drs. Hammer and Mills trained to become primary care physicians: doctors who know their patients best and coordinate their care through all the stages of life. The opportunity to revive the first-rate program in Santa Rosa was embraced with full heart and focus.

“Less than ten percent of internal medicine residents stay in primary care,” says Dr. Hammer. “Family Medicine is truly the only residency left where you can guarantee that graduates mostly do primary care.”

Dr. Hammer chaired the consortium of health groups that ensure the ongoing stability of the residency. As director and associate director, she and Dr. Mills oversee the training and education of 36 residents (physicians-in-training) and one fellow. “Operating a program at this level is a major undertaking, but the fruits are wonderful,” says Dr. Mills.

“Helen Hammer and Walt Mills provided the passion and expertise that was critical for saving the Residency,” says Bob Schultz, MD, Physician–in–Chief. “With their help, the program is becoming one of the best in the country.”