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Urologist and transplant surgeon Peter Bretan, M.D., elected CMA president

October 28, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership 


Peter N. Bretan Jr., M.D., a urologist and kidney transplant surgeon who gave up his Bay Area practice to serve patients at a safety net hospital in Watsonville, Calif., was elected as the 152nd president of the California Medical Association Sunday. Dr. Bretan is the first Filipino-American physician to serve as CMA president.

“My top priority as CMA president will be to make access to  health care universal for all California patients, ,” said Dr. Bretan. “If we are successful in this state, we can create a model of sustainable, universal health care that can be a roadmap for the nation.”

Dr. Bretan is the founder and CEO of Life Plant International, a charitable organization that furnishes lifesaving transplants for patients in developing countries. Dr. Bretan has also provided care around the world on medical missions. He has been recognized for his work by the American Medical Association with the Benjamin Rush Award for Citizenship and Community Service.

“I grew up as a child farm laborer, and I know what it means to be without adequate health care. My greatest motivation is in service to give back to society for my good fortune,” said Dr. Bretan.

After years of practice in Marin and Sonoma Counties, Dr. Bretan now provides urologic and laparoscopic surgical care at a safety net hospital in Santa Cruz County. Most of his patients speak no English and have no medical insurance.

“My presidency will be dedicated to giving these patients, and the millions of hard-working Californians like them, a voice,” said Dr. Bretan. “We have an incredible opportunity to boldly change the way health care is delivered. We know that to best serve patients, health care must be physician led.”

Dr. Bretan has served as a CMA trustee and delegate and is a three-time county medical society president.  He is the current president of the California Urological Association and serves as an adjunct clinical professor at Touro University, where he has taught classes in health care policy for the past 16 years.

Dr. Bretan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physiology from University of California, Berkeley and his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, where he completed residencies in general surgery and urology, as well as a fellowship in radiology. He also completed a fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in transplantation and renovascular surgery.

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