Dr Terry Simpson MD

Dr. Terry Simpson, MD is a physician,  research scientist, weight loss surgeon, cook, author, dad, and a proponent for healthy eating. "And not in that order."

He received his undergraduate, graduate, and medical degrees from The University of Chicago, did his surgical residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, served in the Indian Health Service, and ran a program to train future surgeons for a while before entering his own private practice in Arizona, and moving to California in 2020. 

When he became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons he was the 22nd Native American to become a surgeon and the first Alaska Native to become one. He was inspired by his father, who grew up in an orphanage in Seward, Alaska and became the first Alaska Native to earn a doctorate.

He was the first surgeon to be certified in the field of Culinary Medicine - which means not only is he up to date with the latest nutrition research but he can cook too! He did his culinary medicine training at the Goldring Institute at Tulane in New Orleans.

 

Other Things About Dr. Simpson

 Find him on TikTok @drterrysimpson 

When it comes to food, Dr. Simpson is an advocate of getting the best product and cooking it. His flavor for fruits and vegetables came from his backyard (in Ketchikan, Alaska) and mother's table. Terry's mom, his first teacher in the kitchen, used Alaskan fresh fish, berries from their yard and root vegetables "like a scientist in a lab."

His blog and podcast called YourDoctorsOrders.com is devoted to teaching healthy living - and many times debunking popular myths about what is healthy and what is a fad. 

If you don't know how to cook, you are at the mercy of the worst cooks, be it a restaurant, or re-heating processed food - none of which will help you stay healthy.

Some of Dr. Simpson's favorite recipes are found on this site - they are the ones he teaches to his patients on a daily basis.

Dr. Simpson started his career doing molecular research and virology - with DNA engineering. "I loved research but liked people better so I decided to go to medical school."

As an Alaskan Native (of Athabascan descent) he serves on several boards and has helped transform health of all Alaska Natives.  He is currently on  the Southcentral Foundation – a primary care foundation that has provided a model of health care for the nation. Those transformations led to the prestigious 2011  Malcom Baldridge award for healthcare and then in 2017 they were received the Baldridge award again, the only healthcare agency in the world to win it twice. He is also a member of the Joint Operating Board for the Alaska Native Medical Center.  For his work Dr. Simpson received the National Indian Health Board 2013 Area Impact award.

He has been deeply involved in strategic planning in almost every organization and board in which he was been involved, where he has identified, navigated, and managed a large number of advocacy efforts, and has had great success setting the standards for active diversity on several different levels. 

Lives in:

He lives in the Central Coast of California  - 

In his own words:

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for SouthCentral Foundation. This is the only healthcare organization in the world to receive two Malcom Baldrige Awards (2011 and 2017) and one of only seven corporations in the United States to win two of these awards. My team and I at SouthCentral are responsible for providing healthcare services to more than 65,000 Alaska Natives and American Indian people living in Anchorage. This also includes 55 rural villages spread throughout Alaska (a geographical area roughly the size of Sweden).

Our board is very active with our leadership team and not only have we increased the number of programs offered to Alaska Native people, we have also increased jobs in the communities we serve, along with our overall budget. Our previous CEO, Katherine Gottlieb, who I was fortunate to mentor, was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her work with SouthCentral Foundation.

 As some additional, background, SouthCentral Foundation took over the Alaska Native peoples’ healthcare system from the Indian Health Service and has since improved both its delivery and our healthcare metrics. The Foundation is now a model with a reputation for excellence around the world. We essentially started with a block grant from the Indian Health Service for less than $30 million and, when I joined the Board in 2003 our budget was $105 million. I championed our third-party revenue opportunities and helped the SouthCentral team develop other sources. We now have an annual budget of more $433 million.

When we took over the system, our people had some of the lowest HEIDIS scores in the country. If you examine the literature about healthcare among Alaska Native people, it was at the time some of the worst in the nation. Since SouthCentral took over the healthcare system, not only have we grown financially, but our metrics in healthcare are the envy of the nation. We are now above 75% in HEIDIS scores and have reducedcosts of healthcare while, most importantly, improving lives in meaningful, measurable ways. 

As a result of my involvement with SouthCentral, I have had the opportunity to travel around the world, speaking to healthcare organizations from New Zealand to Stockholm. I am currently wrapping up a book about the history and unique success our healthcare system has experienced so that others can more easily follow our model.

In the for-profit sector, I was both member and chairman of the Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated (CIRI). This corporation was one of the 12 regional (and 13 total) corporations formed by The United States Congress as a part of the Alaska Native Settlement Act.

During these 25 years, I have also continued my full-time surgical practice, as a proud Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. When I finished my residency, I started out in the Indian Health Service in Phoenix, and then was hired by the Maricopa County Hospital, where I was a program director in their surgery program. I’m incredibly proud of the fact that this program was one of the first surgery programs to have an all-female class. I went into private practice in 1997 and during that time served in various hospitals and was a part of a group that owned a hospital. 

In all candor, my life at this moment simply could not be much better. Within the last two years I relocated my family from Phoenix to Ventura, California for a business opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. In the past year, like every other healthcare professional, I’ve been immersed in fighting on the COVID-19 front lines.

 

Dr. Simpson practices at two Center of Excellence Hospitals, St. Johns Regional Hospital in Oxnard, California, and Community Medical Center in Ventura, California and St John's  Camarillo Hospital 

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