James Plews-Ogan, MD

Class Year



Posted on: July 9, 2024

From the UVA School of Medicine:

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of James (Jim) Plews-Ogan, MD, who retired from the Department of Pediatrics as Associate Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics on February 28th, 2022, after 10 years of dedicated service.

Dr. Plews-Ogan joined us in 2012 with a groundbreaking vision: to start a program of home care delivery for medically complex children. This innovative idea led to the creation of By Your Side, a remarkable practice that quickly garnered national attention for its unique care model. Under Jim’s careful financial and operational guidance, By Your Side flourished, becoming a flagship service for the UVA Children’s Hospital. Jim and his colleagues presented nationally, published results, and passionately advocated for the children and families who needed them most. His ability to meet clinical and academic aspirations in a fiscally workable manner with minimal disruption was truly extraordinary.

In addition to his work with By Your Side, Jim’s national presence as an innovator led him to be selected as the chair of the Complex Care Committee at the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.

Jim also served as the inaugural Chief Medical Officer for the VA-wide Clinically Integrated Network, Fortify Children’s Health. Fortify, the nation’s first pediatric clinically integrated network launched as a joint venture between two academic medical systems, presented unique challenges. Dr. Plews-Ogan’s innovative and calm leadership was essential to its success, ensuring that both physicians and non-physician providers had a strong voice.

Jim’s tenure in the Department of Pediatrics was marked by remarkable accomplishments, but perhaps his most significant achievement was how he faced his battle with ALS with grace and determination. Diagnosed with ALS at UVA Neurology in November of 2021, Jim’s journey with the disease began with subtle weakness in his left hand. Demonstrating his characteristic resilience and proactive spirit, Jim quickly laid plans to combat the disease. This led to the creation of The Hummingbird Fund in April 2022. The fund’s kickoff event in Charlottesville brought together Jim’s family, friends, patients, neurologists at UVA, a local live band, and featured an ice bucket dousing. The event was a resounding success, raising nearly $150,000 immediately. This marked the beginning of Jim’s post-retirement focus on ALS advocacy.

Jim’s ability to turn personal adversity into a cause for greater good is a testament to his character and leadership. His dedication to helping medically complex children through the By Your Side program and his pioneering work with the VA-wide Clinically Integrated Network, Fortify Children’s Health, already established his legacy as an innovator and leader in pediatric care. However, his courage in facing ALS and his efforts to raise awareness and funds for the disease underscore his extraordinary commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

From Jim’s blog, here is the sentiment of why he chose the Hummingbird as the name to represent his foundation:

To see a hummingbird is to be surprised by joy—a reminder that no matter what our circumstance, there is joy and beauty all around us. Hummingbirds are also seen as messengers of hope and inspiration, representing joy, tenacity, and endurance. They are often portrayed in legends as a healer or as a spirit who helps people in need—many times playing an important mythological role of fire-bringer. These tiny, agile birds can do amazing things!

The world would be a better place if more people were like Jim.

His memorial service will be on July 21st at 2pm at St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church with a reception following. All are welcome to attend.

Please join us in remembering Dr. Plews-Ogan. You can view and make a donation to his foundation online.