Raymond Schultze, director of the UCLA Medical Center during a period of remarkable growth and later a front-line practitioner who helped establish a dialysis clinic in the Owens Valley to bring needed help to Native American patients, has died at age 83.
Charged with helping bring the medical center into the ranks of the best of the West, Schultze was instrumental in the creation of UCLA Medical Plaza, now a sprawling and distinguished medical campus.
Part of Schultze’s mission when he was named director in 1980 was to help the medical center shift its focus from being a primary facility that treated hospitalized patients to a center that treated people on an outpatient basis. Today, UCLA says it treats more than 700,000 patients annual at the clinics and other facilities at the medical center.
When Schultze retired in 1995, he was persuaded to help open a dialysis center in Bishop that could serve Toiyabe tribal members. Native Americans have a far greater chance of developing diabetes and kidney-related disease than other racial groups in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schultze heard about the need during one of his frequent hiking and fishing trips to the eastern Sierras. He agreed to help launch the clinic, and then volunteered to work there.
Raised in Missouri, Schultze earned his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and served his internship at UCLA. He joined the faculty in 1969 and was the chief of the school’s division of nephrology, executive vice chairman of the department of medicine and associate dean of administration for the School of Medicine before being named director of the medical center.
From 1986 until 1992, he also served as the administrative vice chancellor.
After he retired, Schultze and his wife established the Nancy Lynn Schultze Scholarship Fund to help Latina students attend medical school at UCLA. He also served as president of the Venice Family Clinic, which provides affordable medical care to low-income families.
In a 2001 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Schultze took county politicians to task, suggesting they were dragging their feet on solving a problem that lingers still — providing medical treatment to those without insurance. At the time, nearly 3 million county residents were without health insurance and stopgap federal funding that provided affordable medical treatment were soon to be reduced.
“If nothing changes,” he wrote, aiming his anger at county supervisors for failing to solve the problem, “what can we expect to happen in two years? Crisis. Cutbacks. Closures.”
Schultze, who was battling pancreatic cancer, died April 14 in Thousand Oaks.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; a daughter, Elaine Smith; a son, Raymond Schultze II; and a sister, Patricia Edenburn.