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Passion and Purpose: The Drs. Sucher secure the legacy of their life’s work

As a highly regarded addiction medicine expert, Dr. Michel Sucher has dedicated much of his professional career to helping those tackling the chaos and complicated aspects of substance use disorders. The breadth and depth of his experience includes serving as acting Medical Director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services, Chief Medical Officer for Rural/Metro Corporation and Medical Director of Physician Health for HonorHealth. More recently, Dr. Sucher retired as Chief Medical Officer for Community Bridges, where he continues to serve on the Board.

Now, thanks to his generous commitment through his estate plan, and along with his wife, Dr. Susanne Sucher, his life’s work will continue through the establishment of the Michel A. Sucher, MD, Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program and the Michel A. Sucher, MD, Endowed Chair in Addiction Medicine. In addition, the two funds will offer critical support for patients and families: the Sucher Family Addiction Medicine and Behavioral Health Fund and the Sucher Family Emergency and Trauma Services Fund.

“My hope is that with the fellowship program and the endowed chair, HonorHealth will attract top physicians in the addiction field,” says Dr. Sucher.

As the Program Director for the first Addiction Medicine Fellowship in Arizona, he notes, “I see these as great avenues to inspire and motivate others. Addiction Medicine is now recognized as a medical specialty. Furthermore substance use disorders are considered chronic medical conditions which touch every medical area from internal medicine to surgery to psychiatry and every other area of medicine.“

Dr. Sucher has a long and remarkable history with HonorHealth. He first served as an emergency department physician at our Scottsdale Osborn and Shea Medical Centers where he served as Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

“I was very impacted by the patients I treated,” he explains. “Many would come in with trauma coupled with alcohol abuse or an addiction disorder. These experiences compelled me to make this transition.”

And, little did he know at the time that his journey would bring him to his lovely wife, Susanne. An esteemed psychologist specializing in the addiction treatment field, Dr. Susanne Sucher shares a similar personal history with her husband and his commitment to helping others struggling with these chronic disorders.

Colleagues and friends for many years and now married, this inspiring couple has seen first-hand, the challenges that come with addiction and recovery. Susanne says “I am so happy that Michel has this opportunity to create a legacy to help others. The fellowship program and endowed chair bring his life’s work and calling full circle. It is an honor to be involved with HonorHealth and for the two of us to be able to do this together,” she adds.

“Resources, knowledge and awareness of addiction as a treatable disease were lacking when both Susanne and I started working in this field,” says Dr. Sucher. “With the introduction of these new programs through HonorHealth, along with Community Bridges, it is very rewarding and exciting for everyone: patients, physicians and the community. There is a huge need for these types of services, and I find it very rewarding that I can help set the foundation to carry on these principles and practices which have been so important in my life.”