In Memoriam: R. Scott Chavez, PhD, MPA, CCHP-A

Posted Mar 7, 2013

NCCHC’s longtime vice president, R. Scott Chavez, PhD, MPA, CCHP-A, passed away on March 7, succumbing to cancer at age 63. A leading authority on U.S. correctional health care systems, Dr. Chavez was widely known for his outreach and assistance to the field, giving generously of his time and energy to help institutions and individuals improve the delivery of care.

“Scott was a dedicated colleague and a great friend not only to NCCHC but to the correctional health field as a whole,” said NCCHC president Edward Harrison. “His enthusiasm, warmth and good humor will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Chavez became involved with NCCHC in November 1987, when he was elected to the board of directors, serving as liaison of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He served on the board until January 1989, at which time he joined the staff as director of accreditation. During his tenure with the Commission, his responsibilities touched upon nearly every aspect of the organization, from project management to technical assistance, standards development, clinical guidelines, professional certification and much more.

Quality improvement was a particular passion of Dr. Chavez and the subject of his doctoral dissertation, leading to a PhD in 2003. During his career, Dr. Chavez conducted more than 700 correctional facility site reviews, amassing a great deal of knowledge about the challenges facing correctional health systems and becoming expert in identifying needed improvements.

Beyond his work with NCCHC, Dr. Chavez’s contributions to the correctional health care field were extensive. He had a lifelong interest in education and prior to joining NCCHC directed two physician assistant programs at medical schools. He always approached his work as an educator and was a mentor to many. He was a gifted public speaker who spoke frequently at NCCHC conferences and elsewhere. He published numerous works on quality assessment, risk management and myriad other topics, and was in demand as a consultant for countless organizations.

In addition to his work commitments, Dr. Chavez enjoyed a fulfilling personal life and was extraordinarily devoted to his family. Interests included travel, books and good food and wine. He was an avid music fan with a large record collection. Dr. Chavez loved a good laugh and was well-known for his playful sense of humor.

The Chavez family requests that condolences be sent to the NCCHC office at 1145 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614. Donations may be made to the Hepatobiliary Cancers Foundation.