Obituary: Dr. Stephen J. Sullivan, physician and entrepreneur | December 12, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - December 12, 2012

Obituary: Dr. Stephen J. Sullivan, physician and entrepreneur

Dr. Stephen J. Sullivan, a former resident of Menlo Park and Woodside who combined careers in medical practice and healthcare venture capital, died Nov. 22 after "a brief but brave fight" with cancer, the family said. He was 57.

Dr. Sullivan grew up in Boston, and graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, a private high school in Andover, Massachusetts. He received a bachelor of science degree from Duke University in 1977 and a medical degree from New York University in 1981. After a decade or so in Northern California, he completed a three-month program in management development at the Harvard Business School in 1995.

His medical practice included clinical faculty appointments at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and at Harvard Medical School, according to a biography at the Palo Alto venture firm Skyline Ventures, where he had been a managing director.

At Stanford University Medical School, Dr. Sullivan was chief medical resident (in 1985) and an assistant clinical professor. He was a practicing physician at the Menlo Medical Clinic. For a decade, he had "one of the largest medical practices in Silicon Valley," the Skyline biography says, adding that it was during this time that his interests turned to venture capital.

After his Harvard program, Dr. Sullivan joined the healthcare IT firm Eclipsys as the company's first staff clinician and one of its first employees, the Skyline bio says. After Eclipsys was acquired by Allscripts in 2010, Dr. Sullivan co-founded HEALTHvision, a spinout later bought by Lawson Software.

At Skyline, Dr. Sullivan "found much fulfillment" in financing and advising medical technology start-ups, the family said. He was a member of several advisory boards, including for the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, the Industrial Advisory Board of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Catherine Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship at New York University and Stanford, the SPARK Scholar program, and the Coulter Foundation. He also coached entrepreneurial students at several universities.

In its first season in the National Hockey League, the San Jose Sharks employed Dr. Sullivan as its team internist.

In 2011, Dr. Sullivan moved with his wife Jay to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to do consulting work for Silicon Valley firms that have Middle East operations. His most recent plans included a healthcare innovation talk set for Saudi Arabia and evaluating entries in a business-plan competition in Ireland.

Dr. Sullivan is survived by his wife Jay; his daughter Kathryn of Seoul; sons Jack of Shanghai and Mike of Kuala Lumpur; his father John; and brothers Mike, Ed, Gregory and Kevin.

A memorial service has been held. The family is asking that donations in Dr. Sullivan's memory be made to the Stephen J. Sullivan Memorial Fund, Stanford University, P.O. Box 20466, Stanford CA 94309.