Mark E. Clasen, M.D., Ph.D., who chaired the Wright State University Department of Family Medicine for 18 years, died on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the age of 68.
An emeritus professor of family medicine and geriatrics, Clasen was passionate about the provision of health care for all people and had a special interest in cardiovascular risk reduction, geriatric medicine and mitigating the "burden of suffering" in vulnerable populations.
He joined Wright State University School of Medicine in 1992 when he was appointed chair of the Department of Family Medicine. He came to Wright State from the University of Texas-Houston School of Medicine, where he had been vice chair of the Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine. He retired from Wright State on Oct. 31, 2010.
Under his leadership, the Family Medicine Department regularly inspired WSU medical school graduates to choose residencies in family medicine. During his tenure, Wright State was recognized by the American Association of Family Physicians numerous times with the prestigious Family Practice Gold Achievement Award for ranking first in the nation for the percentage of its graduates who entered family medicine. Throughout the 1990s, Wright State's medical school consistently ranked in the top three of 125 medical schools nationwide for the broader percentage of graduates starting practice in primary care medicine, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Clasen grew up in St. Peter, Minn., and went to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, where he earned a Ph.D. in Human Anatomy in 1976 and an M.D degree in 1979. He completed his residency in family medicine at the University Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. He was a diplomate and fellow with the American Board of Family Medicine and was certified in family practice with added qualification in geriatric medicine.
From 1995 to 1998, Clasen served as president of the University Medical Services Association, which later became Wright State Physicians. He was a lifetime member of Alpha Omega Alpha, was listed in the Best Doctors in America publication and was a principal investigator on numerous grants and contracts. He served the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as a grant reviewer and served as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Carla Clasen. A memorial service is planned for Friday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m., at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 6430 Far Hills, Centerville, Ohio 45459. Visitation will take place at the church for one hour before the service. There will also be a visitation period from 5 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Anderson Funeral Home, 40 N. Main St., Springboro, Ohio, 45066.