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Press Release Mid-Valley Pediatrics Welcomes New Physician

Pediatrician and Neonatologist Thurman Merritt, MD, has joined Mid-Valley Pediatrics in Lebanon. 

Merritt comes to Samaritan from Loma Linda University Medical Center, and prior to that he provided primary pediatric care and directed the neonatal intensive care unit in Bend. He has been named one of the best doctors in America by “Best Doctors in America”, a professional organization that rates physician excellence in patient care throughout the United States. In 2003,  Merritt was named by the Oregon Medical Association as the Citizen Physician of the Year. He was appointed to the Oregon Commission for Children and Families from 2001 to 2006, and has consulted for several state and federal agencies on neonatal and pediatric topics.  

He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Kansas, a medical degree from Kansas University and master’s degree in health care administration from Portland State University. He completed an internship in pediatrics at the Kansas University Medical Center, a pediatric residency at the University of California, San Diego and a fellowship in neonatal and perinatal medicine, also at the University of California, San Diego. He has been a professor of pediatrics and neonatology for 30 years, mostly at the University of California, Davis, and more recently at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He served in the United States Public Health Service and the US Army Reserve.  

Merritt’s published editorials on pediatrics lung disorders and the impact of tobacco smoking on fetuses and newborns have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. He has co-authored three books and published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in pediatric journals with recent topics including the impact of lifestyle choices on fertility and birth, eating disorders during pregnancy related to small-for-gestational age infants, and articles on several birth/genetic defects.  

“I was motivated to become a doctor by my desire to use the scientific method to help children attain their greatest potential and be healthy,” Merritt said. “I strive to do a great job communicating with children and their families and focus on great patient care.  I embrace the mind, spirit and body synergy in health care that promotes happiness and healthy children and parents.”   

He enjoys gardening, hiking, photography, fishing, and being involved in church activities. Merritt and his wife of 37 years, Maryanne Merritt, have two grown sons, both physicians.  

“I look forward to being part of Samaritan’s mission to serve the health care needs of our region and to improve the communities we serve and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to care for children and families Lebanon and the region,”  he said. 

Merritt is accepting new patients. For more information, call Mid-Valley Pediatrics at 541-451-7820.

Samaritan Health Services continually recruits highly skilled, compassionate physicians to help serve the growing need for health care in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. For more information about Samaritan’s five hospitals and more than 70 primary and specialty care clinics, visit