Some people would describe Murray “Buz” Susser ’66 as one of “those California way-out doctors,” implying a physician who doles out a healthy dose of philosophy or mysticism along with his ministrations. It’s true that Susser treats some of his patients with nutritional approaches, consults a chiropractor for his own bad back, and personally cares for his share of the stars.
While Susser’s practice is clearly a non run-of-the-mill, neither is it particularly “far-out.” Rather, the Pitt-trained physician combines a firm foundation of traditional family practice (in which he is board certified) with those aspects of nutritional medicine that seem to be valid. In his comfortable, slightly cluttered office, a book on nutrition sits alongside Goodman and Gilman’s and the 1991 edition of the PDR. Susser himself still sounds astonished as he recounts the winding path by which his practice has developed.
Following a five-and-a-half year stint as an Air Force fighter pilot during what he calls “the hottest part of the cold war,” Susser, inspired by this brother who was in osteopathy school, decided to investigate a medical career. After completing his undergraduate work in English at Pitt, he applied to and was accepted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “I was strapped for money,” he says, “so I only applied to one medical school. Fortunately, I got accepted.” Susser describes his medical school career as “fairly uneventful” until his senior year when he directed the annual Scope and Scalpel Society production, The Sordid Life of Wally PMSten. “That probably cost me about five or ten places in the class standing,” he quips.
Following a rotating internship at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Susser entered practice with James A. Ferrante ’65, who was one year ahead of him in medical school. Several years into his practice, Susser became disillusioned with the way drugs were used in medicine. “I listened to the patients and I heard them say, ‘I go on Dexedrine and I lose 20 or 30 pounds, and then I stop it and I gain back 40 pounds. I go on it again and I lose ten, and I stop it and gain 20.’ Everybody had the same kind of story,” he says. About the same time, several of Susser’s friends cajoled him into reading the books of Adele Davis and Wilford Shute, dealing , respectively, with nutrition and the therapeutic use of vitamin E. Susser reluctantly read the material. Then he encountered a patient with severe phlegmasia alba dolens (painful, white, swollen legs) and painful pitting edema, who had 30 years of failed medical treatment. After repeating some conventional treatments with no success, Susser, because he could do nothing else, reluctantly decided to try 800 units a day of vitamin E. “I was scared to death giving her vitamin E,” says Susser. “But it was providential because I got one of the best results I’ve ever had with vitamins….This woman, after 30 years of leg problems, showed dramatic improvement after two weeks and was completely better in six weeks. I went and told my colleagues at St. Margaret and they laughed at me.”
Over the next 14 years, Susser became more involved in nutritional therapy, as well as the still-controversial use of chelation to treat vascular disease. He joined organizations like the American College of Advancement in Medicine, the International Academy of Preventive Medicine, and the American Holistic Medical Association. He telephoned and eventually became acquainted with Adele Davis. “She was like a top sergeant,” says Susser, “and didn’t practice what she preached. She smoked, drank coffee, and was overweight.” Susser admits that his experiments with nutritional therapies were a source of amusement at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital. Pointing to a plaque on his wall, dated 1974, the “Ewell Gibbons Award for pioneering work in the use of IV grapenuts” from the residents at St. Margaret, Susser says, “I was kind of the joke of the hospital in a way.”
Susser also ventured into the medically suspect arena of chiropractic. He had injured his back in the Air Force and still had pain from his injury. A chiropractor who lived in his neighborhood offered to treat Susser and, in desperation, he accepted. “I’d been to everyone for my back…, and no one had helped; and this chiropractor got my back enormously better in about two months…. In those days, associating with a chiropractor was almost grounds for disbarment and losing your license.” Susser continues to use and to recommend chiropractic for certain conditions.
During his Air Force days, Susser had done temporary duty in the Los Angeles area and, from that time, yearned to move to California. By 1981, with his first marriage deteriorating, he said, “Well, what the hell. I’d rather live in California and give it a try.” Establishing a practice in Los Angeles wasn’t easy, but after a couple of false starts, he was finally able to settle in Santa Monica. One activity that helped him to become known in the area was his hosting of a radio talk show, during which people could call in and ask medical questions.
Today, Susser maintains a lively practice and is currently interested in chronic fatigue syndrome (many cases of which he believes are due to undiagnosed infections such as intestinal parasites), on which he has just published a book. Asked about his unusual medical practice, Susser says, “I position myself in what I call the ‘passionate middle.’ I came out of medical school thinking knowledge gained in that environment was the only medical knowledge. Then I went through a phase where I thought nothing in medical school was any good, and the pendulum finally settled in midpoint, where I use both equally. I love orthodox medicine but I look for its weaknesses, which I consider an important part of loyalty…. People think of moderates as being wishy-washy, not being able to choose one or the other. I choose both passionately, and I look for the best of both worlds.”
M.D. , University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1966.
A.B. , English Writing, (Pre-Med) University of Pittsburgh, 1962.
University of Vermont, Adult Education, 1958-1959.
Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), 1952-1953; Drama Department, majored in directing and acting.
2006 – 2012 Private Practice, Scottsdale Arizona and Association with Longevity Medical Center
Medical Director, Arizona Advanced Medicine
1998 – 2005– Private Practice, Longevity Medical Center, West Los Angeles
1986-1997 – Medical Director, Omnidox Medical Center, Santa Monica, CA
Private practice, Omnidox Medicine
Hosted “Questioning Medicine” on KFOX radio five days weekly
1986-1991 – Attending Staff, Beverly Hills Medical Center
1985 – Private practice, Marina Del Rey, CA.
1984-1985 – Private Practice, Oklahoma City, OK.
Founded Wellness Weight Clinic in Oklahoma City, OK.
Hosted “House Calls ” as Doctor Buz Susser on KTOK Radio
Appeared Bi-weekly on Channel 9, OKC, ABC affiliate
1983 – Co-Director, Atkins Center for Alternative Therapies, N.Y., NY.
1981-83 – Medical Director, Bio-Medical Health Center, N. Hollywood CA
1978 – Co-Host of What’s New in Medicine, 13-segment syndicated TV series on 12 UHF stations, including New York, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Atlanta. Produced by Roger Willoughby-Ray
1976-1977 – Co-Hosted twice weekly medical talk-show on WEEP Radio
(50,000 watt, ABC Network station)
1975 – Began to specialize in practice of Clinical Nutrition, Prevention and Intravenous Nutrition
1968-1981 – Solo General and Family Practice evolving to include Clinical Nutrition, Prevention and Intravenous Therapies (nutritional and chelation), suburban Pittsburgh, PA.
1967-1981 – Attending Staff Physician St. Margaret Memorial Hospital.
1967-1968 – General and Family Practice with Glenshaw Medical Associates, Pittsburgh, PA.– 1 1/2 years.
1966-1967 – Rotating (Family Practice) Internship at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.
1954-1959 – Fighter-Pilot, USAF, Flying F-86 Sabre Jets and F-102 Delta-Daggers.
PRESENT AND FORMER ACTIVITIES
Past President, American Association for Health Freedom, (formerly American Preventive Medical Association)
Private Practice in the Longevity Medical Center.
Private practice — General Medicine, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Mixed Infection Syndrome Clinical Nutrition, Anti-addiction Therapies, Intravenous Therapies, Prevention.
Associate Editor, Journal of the Council on Nutrition, Front Royal, Virginia
“Solving the Puzzle of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” with Michael Rosenbaum, M.D., Life Sciences Press, Tacoma, Wash. 1992
“Eclectic Medicine,” Dynamic Chiropractic, Monthly Column, beginning 1987.
“Mixed Infection Syndrome,” Seven articles appearing in consecutive months in Dynamic Chiropractic 1987.
PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS, PRESENTLY
ACAM (American College for Advancement in Medicine)
AHIMA (AzHomeopathic and Integrated Medicine Association)
Former President, American College for Advancement in Medicine
PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS, FORMERLY
Diplomate, American Board of Family Practice
American Medical Association
Pennsylvania Medical Society.
Allegheny County Medical Society.
President, American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
President, American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF)
Associate Attending Staff, St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.
Preceptor, St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Family Practice Residency Program.
Charter Fellow, American Academy of Medical Preventics
Courtesy Staff, North Hills Passavant Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.
Charter member, American Holistic Medical Association
Executive Committee and Program Director, International Academy of Preventive Medicine
Fellow, International College of Applied Nutrition.
Member and Board Member, American Preventive Medical Association
Fellow, International Academy of Preventive Medicine.
PERSONAL ACTIVITIES AND HONORS
Winner, Poetry Reading Festival, U. of Pittsburgh, 1960, (Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock)
Winner, Poetry Reading Festival, U. of Pittsburgh, 1961, (Abundance)
Honorary Fellowship, International Academy of Preventive Medicine.
Six letters in High School Sports – three in basketball, three in chess
Physicians Recognition Award, AMA 1979
Physicians Recognition Award, AMA 1985
Physicians Recognition Award, AMA 1988
Physicians Recognition Award, AMA 1991
American Academy of Family Physicians, Preceptor Award 1974
Hall of Honor Medal, American Academy of Medical Preventics, 1983.
Co-Hosted Making Healthy Choices with Debra Maffett. Former Miss America
Foemerly co-hosted “Choosing Longevity” Adelphia Cable, Los Angeles
Formerly Hosted “Questioning Medicine,” KIEV, Glendale CA
Formerly hosted daily radio medical commentary show on KFOX-FM, 1985 – 1991
Formerly co-hosted radio medical commentary shows in Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City.
Co-hosted 13 segment syndicated TV series “What’s New In Medicine.”
Numerous guest and semi-regular appearances on TV and Radio in Pittsburgh, New York, Oklahoma, and Los Angeles — Including the Today Show in 1988 and Cable News Network, 1983, 20/20 1998, Extra 1998