History with Chuck: Remembering Dr. Paul Brucker, CHS grad and former Jefferson chairman and president

Dr. Paul Brucker, a 1949 Cheltenham High School graduate, was the founding chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Jefferson Medical College, a former president of Thomas Jefferson University, and a former president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

According to local historian Chuck Langerman, Brucker grew up on Rowland Avenue in the Ashmead Village section of Cheltenham Township and dreamed from a young age of becoming a surgeon. In 1973, after spending 13 years in private practice in Ambler, he became the first family physician in the United States to lead an academic medical center.

During his tenure, that department gained recognition as one of the most successful student and residency programs in family medicine in the country.

In 1990, Dr. Brucker, a graduate of Muhlenberg College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was named Thomas Jefferson’s president, a position he served over the next 14 years.

“As President of Jefferson, Dr. Brucker provided the institutional leadership which resulted in the formation of the Jefferson Health System and served as its Board Chair,” his obituary said. “He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Family Practice, serving as President of the Board from 1987 to 1988. In 1994, Dr. Brucker was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College, where he is a Life Trustee, and Gwynedd-Mercy College.”

Dr. Brucker passed away on March 23, 2017 of end-stage renal failure. He was 85 years old.

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