Mary Patton, MD, FACP
"What I hope residents take away from our experience together is that medicine involves continuous learning, a lot of humility, skepticism about dogma, and genuinely caring for and being interested in each patient."
There’s an adage that says “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” If it’s true, Dr. Patton, who has been working with residents for 32 years, has provided a lifetime of sustenance to more than a village of budding physicians.
Dr. Patton joined TPMG as a primary care internist at KP Oakland in 1987 and has served as an assistant program director for the Internal Medicine Residency program since 1998. With a combination of vigor, passion, humility, and grace, she has taught, mentored, and advised hundreds of residents, many of whom are now practicing physicians in TPMG. She’s also highly sought out by new TPMG physicians in her role as new physician mentor for the Department of Medicine, a position she’s held since 2004.
In addition to her mentorship, teaching, and full-time clinical practice, Dr. Patton also maintains an active regional and national presence in physician and educator organizations, including the American College of Physicians. And she’s been an associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine since 1998.
“For so many physicians, Mary is emblematic of what it means to find joy and meaning in the practice of medicine,” says Rita Ng, MD, physician-in-chief at KP Oakland. “She demonstrates compassion, warmth, and intellectual curiosity in a way that we all want to emulate, whether she’s walking the corridors or in the exam room with a patient. If you’ve ever seen her engage with residents—there’s simply an excitement and energy that surrounds them. They are inquisitive and actively learning from one another. That’s the very best kind of education.”