Toni Brayer, MD is an internist and Chief Medical Officer for Sutter Health West Bay Region. A SFMS member since 1987, Dr. Brayer has served as President, CMA delegate, Editor of San Francisco Medicine, and on numerous committees over the years. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF.
Dr. Brayer has received the "Best Doctors in America" award for many years as well the "Volunteerism and Community Service Award" from the American College of Physicians California Northern Chapter in 2011. She has been named by the SF business Times as one of the most Influential Women in Business numerous times and was honored as a "2012 Health Hero" for her medical volunteer contributions at the Katrina and Haiti disasters as well as her work with patients and organized medicine.
Dr. Brayer writes a popular and often quoted EverythingHealth blog and is also the medical advisor for Sutter Health "Mylifestages.org" website.
Dr. Brayer serves on the board of the Northern Chapter Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Medical Insurance Exchange of California (MIEC). She is the mother of two and has the most adorable 3-year-old grandchild, Kira Skye.
To view Dr. Brayer’s practice information, please click here.
I am a SFMS member because I believe—when I joined SFMS as a new doctor 25 years ago, and still believe now—that physicians need the advocacy of organized medicine to represent them and their patients with insurance companies, legislators, and public policy. The SFMS has often led the way with health initiatives that benefit our patients and our profession.
Which SFMS member resource is most helpful to you?
Over the years I have benefited from the practice management seminars, medical insurance sponsorships, networking with other physicians, and learning how to be a physician leader through involvement with SFMS and the CMA. Participating in the annual Lobby Day was an eye-opener and shows just how influential SFMS can be in setting health policy for the State. I have made many wonderful friends through involvement with SFMS that I would not have met any other way.
My greatest achievement outside of practicing medicine is my two wonderful children and family that support me in every way so I can be the best physician to my patients. I don’t take the credit for how wonderful they are. I am simply grateful for their support and love.
What is the most important thing you learned in medical school or residency?
I had great role models and also experienced parts of medicine that taught me how I did not want to be. I believe I have learned so much more since I left training. Medical School and Residency are just the beginning. Being a doctor is lifelong learning. I do wish I could go back to medical school now with the knowledge I have. It would be so simple and I would enjoy doing anatomy and physiology again.
What are some of the biggest opportunities or challenges you see in health care within the next five years?
The next five years will bring the most changes for all doctors. We will see increasing financial pressures that move us toward total accountable care for populations. Physicians will be in the drivers seat if they come together and partner with organizations that deliver on quality and cost. SFMS can be instrumental in helping doctors navigate the changes ahead. I think patient care will be better once we get through these hectic times.
I love about practicing Internal Medicine because it's a diverse specialty and the ability to follow patients over time is most rewarding. I have patients that have been with me since I was a resident. We are growing old together (yikes). I miss being an Internist who did both ambulatory and hospital medicine but the ability to make a profound difference in someone’s life has never changed. Internists are still the “doctor’s doctor” and our diagnostic skills and helping patients navigate the complex medical system are what we do best.
My favorite San Francisco restaurant is Gary Danko or eating at the bar at Kokkari. I also like to act like a tourist and hit North Beach.
If I wasn't a physician, I would like to be a photo journalist or investigative reporter. Telling the stories that are seldom seen or heard from around the world would be so gratifying. If I had talent I would like to be a professional tennis player and take on Maria Sharapova.