About Me

While he has retired from full-time practice as an emergency physician, Dr. O John Ma maintains an active life in healthcare. He stays focused on healthcare best practices and innovations in addition to managing a vibrant volunteer life and other medical positions.

Current Role and Duties

John Ma is a healthcare consultant assisting major medical centers with quality improvement and patient safety. He also works as a journalist.

Academic History

John Ma started his college studies in 1981 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree from 1981 to 1986. One year was spent abroad at Lancaster University in Lancaster, England, as part of the university's Junior Year Abroad Scholarship Program. After graduation, he pursued his M.D. at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., from 1986 to 1990.

Postgraduate training was highly diverse, starting with a preliminary internship in internal medicine at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., from 1990 to 1991. In 1991, John Ma started a residency in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and served as Chief Resident from 1993 to 1994.

Continuing Education

Throughout his career in medicine, Dr. O John Ma's expertise generated access to many new opportunities in management. Management-related training was completed at various points from 2001 to 2012.

Additional coursework included physicians in management, hospital department chairs, and lean leader training. John Ma earned a certificate in Executive MBA Essentials and completed workshops for new and future chairs and a physician leadership academy.

Career History

John Ma's medical career spanned over three decades and featured many research opportunities, studies, and advancements in medical team leadership at various hospitals. His first role was attending staff with the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill. John Ma immediately moved into a medical director role with Carolina Air Care. Within one year, he became the director of emergency ultrasonography in the Department of Emergency Medicine and worked as a residency research director.

By 1997, John Ma moved to the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, where he joined the attending staff of St. Luke's Hospital and then the Truman Medical Center, where he would stay for eight years and rise through the ranks. In year one, he was the research director for the Department of Emergency Medicine, and in 2000, he started as the vice-chair for academic advancement. In 2002, he was promoted to a full vice-chair role in the emergency medicine department. Dr. John Ma was appointed Department Chair and Chief of Emergency Medicine in 2006.

In 2007, Dr. O John Ma moved to Oregon Health & Science University and started as Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Chief of Emergency Medical Services. 

Professional Skills and Experience

Oscar John Ma was an early pioneer in developing ultrasound practices for trauma and began chronicling advances as early as 1992. He is the co-editor of a noted McGraw-Hill textbook on Emergency Ultrasound that is still in use and updated periodically. Due to his medical publication credits, he also edits medical publications.

Philanthropy and Charitable Involvement

From 2002 to 2019, Dr. John Ma volunteered with the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He also makes annual contributions to The Little Sisters of the Poor.

At OHSU, he helped establish two $1M endowed professorships in honor of former department chairs Dr. Jerris Hedges and Dr. John Moorhead.

Accomplishments and Achievements

John Ma's interest in medicine didn't retire with him, and he is still actively updating many publications he helped author. In 2020, a new contribution to a textbook, Ma and Mateer's Emergency Ultrasound, fourth edition, included major updates on using ultrasound to detect COVID-19.

O John Ma's devotion to patient safety and high-quality clinical care helped him earn the chair position on the OHSU Professional Board, where he was president of the executive medical committee.

Key accomplishments included expanding emergency care in Oregon from one staffed emergency department to five in the 12 years from 2007 to 2019. During this time, the budget rose from $10M to $28M, leading to increased investment opportunities in technology and patient care improvements.

Ma also supported emergency medical residency for other physicians and launched special entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts.


John Ma was repeatedly named a top doctor in Portland Monthly Magazine. He received the 2009 OHSU Golden Rose in recognition of his service in the emergency department and the Pillar of Excellence award the same year for people development. He was frequently recognized as an outstanding physician with Truman Medical Center and received multiple awards for emergency medicine teacher of the year

Personal Interests and Hobbies

O John Ma maintains several invigorating hobbies and interests. He enjoys the challenges found on the golf course and new New York City dining experiences. In his spare time, he prefers visiting museums in the New York City area and beyond and international travel.

He also enjoyed a previous career as a sportswriter and maintains a professional-level knowledge of golf courses.


Dr. O John Ma Portfolio