WOEMA Mourns the Passing of Walt Newman

Esteemed colleagues and friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of our past WOEMA President, dear friend, and colleague Walt Newman. His family announced that Walt passed away peacefully on Saturday July 22, 2023.

Walt will always be remembered in the WOEMA family, an original WOHC Brother and "bon vivant” he always carried himself with warmth and kindness. Walt was a man of service: he showed the utmost enthusiasm for all his service-related endeavors from membership in WOEMA to serving California’s farm workers.

Walt was a past Western Occupational Health Conference (WOHC) Chairman, and WOEMA President. One of his many contributions as President of WOEMA was his testimony before the group of legislators who helped craft the reforms in the California workers’ compensation system’s regulations that codified Independent Medical Review as the remedy for resolving utilization review treatment disputes. Thanks to Walt WOEMA had a voice at the table in Sacramento, CA, where the reforms were crafted. Most recently, Walt was an active and ardent member of WOEMA’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee.

Walt was also the first recipient of WOEMA’s JEDI award in 2022. This award is presented preferentially to a current, or former WOEMA member, who has given their time and effort to advance the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace, an organization, the environment, or the community. Walt was also the recipient of WOEMA’s Rutherford T. Johnstone award and he delivered the Rutherford T. Johnstone Memorial Lecture in 2018. This award is presented annually to a current or past member of the Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association who has contributed significantly to the furthering of occupational and environmental medicine.

Whether treating injured workers, leading Stanford medical students vaccinating farm workers, or providing leadership and philanthropy for the arts, Walt excelled at providing direction and guidance in the most humane manner possible, he was a champion for us all. Let us celebrate in the most bon vivant way possible Walt Newman’s life, and give thanks that we were blessed to have him for the time he spent with us.

Ramón J. Terrazas, MD, MPH, QME
President, WOEMA
Fellow American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Diplomate American Board of Preventive Medicine
Board Certified Occupational Medicine

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