Early Career Achievement Award – Moira Ray

Moira Ray, M.D. was recently honored with an OHSU School of Medicine 2024 Alumni Award!

Throughout her career, Moira Ray has pursued two passions: direct patient care and public health. 

“I’ve always liked thinking about the needs of the public versus the needs of the individual,” Ray says. “I’m a physician working in a patient-centered area, and I also work at population levels to think about quality improvement initiatives.” 

When Ray was first introduced to a quality improvement (QI) curriculum as a graduate student, she thought she had no time for what felt like extra work heaped upon the already full physician workload. She credits Sherril Gelmon, Dr.P.H., a mentor and Portland State University public health professor with helping her to embrace improvement science.  

Recently named the associate director of quality for the school’s Department of Family Medicine, Ray sees the QI mindset as an optimistic one. She quotes her fellow alumna, Katie Putman, M.D. ’17, M.P.H. ’17, “‘If you hate something, you should improve it. You just need to QI it.’” 

“A huge part of my QI job was helping people do the right thing and making the right thing be the easy thing to do.”Moira Ray 

Ray began working at OHSU after completing residencies in family practice and preventive medicine. Within the family medicine department, she sees a variety of patients including children, adults and those seeking maternity care and women’s health and reproductive services. She has also worked as a clinical epidemiologist at the OHSU Center for Evidence-based Policy, completing evidence reviews for a collaborative of 25 state Medicaid agencies and programs.  

At the Center for Evidence-based Policy, Ray worked on the Medicaid Evidence-based Decisions (MED) Project, funded by Oregon and several other participating state Medicaid programs. The MED project gathered and evaluated evidence for making Medicaid coverage decisions, impacting millions of patients each year. She has authored numerous policy reviews, evaluating evidence that informs how healthcare delivery and payment decisions are made throughout the U.S. 

When Ray saw an opportunity to improve patient care in her clinic, she completed training and certification in loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) in order to treat precancerous cervical disease in her patients. She then established a program to provide LEEP in her clinic and began to train residents in the procedure. 

As the QI lead for her clinic, Ray helped develop a system leading to better patient health outcomes for individuals with diabetes by creating a review committee where team members could present patient needs and get valuable feedback from an interprofessional group. 

“People learned from being looped in with other teammates,” Rays says. “A huge part of my QI job was helping people do the right thing and making the right thing be the easy thing to do.”  

Many of Ray’s fellow clinicians are also OHSU alumni, including some of her classmates. “There’s something about that shared experience. I lean on my friends from med school.”  

She enjoys working with residents and is glad to be a member of the next generation of instructors at OHSU. “I love giving back to help learners — giving back to support what people gave me when I was a student here.” 

Reprinted from the original article here.