Ron Naito MD
Medicine was Dr. Naito’s calling and his patients were his passion and the focus of his 40-year career, which ended abruptly when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018. Beloved by his patients for the deep presence and gifted communication skills he brought to his practice, Dr. Naito dedicated himself after retirement to teaching these skills to others. Working with OHSU’s Center for Ethics in Healthcare, he became an effective teacher to medical students and professionals about the importance of presence in medical practice, especially in delivering bad news.
Ron was extremely grateful for the gift of time as he navigated his illness. In addition to working with students, he also expanded his philanthropic practice, building upon a lifetime of care for others by committing his entire estate to this foundation. He was blessed with enough time to witness the impact of his generosity, overseeing our first grant cycle in 2019 and providing grants to 53 nonprofits that work to heal our planet, our communities, and ourselves.
For Ron, mindfulness provided a vital key to understanding that, after so many years of busy-ness and doing, his life after diagnosis was about Being. “Your final months may actually be the richest, most fulfilling portion of your whole life because approaching death is a chance to be much more awakened,” said Ron. “And most fulfilling of all is to experience all the love that’s everywhere — so much more than I’ve comprehended.”
Ronald W. Naito died Sunday, December 22, 2019, just hours after the winter solstice. Surrounded by love and filled with light, he left after a 17-month journey from full-time medical practice to peaceful rest, leaving behind a far-sighted philanthropic legacy.
“There’s no better feeling than helping another person. There’s no greater honor or role you can have than helping someone else. A physician is a very lucky person…”– Ron Naito, MD
More About Ron
- Obituary, The Oregonian, December 2019
- Video: Scripps TV Interview, June 2019
- “Never Say ‘Die’: Why So Many Doctors Won’t Break Bad News,” Kaiser Health News, June 2019
- “Oregon doctor with grim diagnosis shares a final message about how physicians break bad news,” Seattle Times, June 2019
- “Terminally ill doctor helps others give diagnoses with compassion, clarity,” The Oregonian, June 2019
- Profile in The Scribe, May 2019
- Video: “A Legacy of Compassion and Wisdom,” OHSU Center for Ethics
- Video: “Thank you, Dr. Naito,” The Portland Clinic, August 2018
- Video: The Portland Clinic Interview , August 2018
- OHSU: The Gift of Presence in Medical Practice
- OHSU: Delivering a Dire Diagnosis
- OHSU: Learning to Embrace Life in the Face of Death
- Portland State University Press Release