HERSHEY, Pa. – Lawrence R. John, MD, has spent more than 40 years helping his patients stay healthy. As president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), he aims to help his physician colleagues improve their health as well.

Dr. John, a family medicine physician from Pittsburgh, was sworn in as the 170th president of PAMED on Saturday night during a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge. He practices with Drs John Chantz Biedrzycki & Associates-UPMC and was named one of “Pittsburgh’s Best Doctors” by Pittsburgh Magazine in both 2017 and 2018.

He has held numerous state and county leadership positions during his 41 years in organized medicine, including president and chair of the Allegheny County Medical Society. He was elected by PAMED’s statewide House of Delegates in 2017 to serve one-year terms as vice president (2017-18) and president-elect (2018-19) before assuming the role of president (2019-2020).

One of Dr. John’s primary goals during the next year is to highlight and seek solutions to a physician burnout crisis that by one estimate is costing the U.S. health system billions of dollars.

“Since we know that physician well-being is essential for safe and high-quality patient care, we must have a critical discussion about how we can eliminate burnout and establish an environment of well-being,” Dr. John said.

Physicians blame burnout on responsibilities that are taking place outside the exam room, such as increased bureaucratic tasks, government interference, and too much time with computers rather than patients.

Dr. John says solving this crisis will take both individual efforts by physicians and organizational changes from hospital administrators, insurance companies and policymakers. He said he would attempt to drive conversation in the physician community and throughout the state.

Dr. John is affiliated with UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital, and is a clinical instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. John earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

His wife, Martha John, MD, is a pediatrician who has practiced for more than 40 years in the Pittsburgh area as well.