Sam Nussbaum, physician, researcher, professor, health care executive, jam-maker, gardener, world traveler, runner, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died Sept. 23 at his home in Oak Bluffs. He was 73. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

He began coming to Martha’s Vineyard in 1977 as part of a program in which Martha’s Vineyard Hospital brought in physicians from Massachusetts General and other hospitals to help meet the influx of summer residents. His experiences at the Vineyard hospital led him to implore all he knew to never get on a moped.

Initially, the hospital put Dr. Nussbaum and his family up in a home near Sengekontacket Pond. He and his family quickly fell in love with the Island. He taught his children to swim in Fresh Pond, and to dig for quahaugs in Sengekontacket Pond, where he would wade out into the water, carrying a clam rake (and of course his permit), towing his children in an inflatable raft, and comically exclaiming “this one’s fighting!” every time he hit a clam.

He loved annual bike rides to Aquinnah, walking the beach at Long Point, golf at Farm Neck, frequenting Island art galleries and making batches of raspberry jam with berries picked at Thimble Farm. When the farm ceased operations, he turned to fruit from his own bushes and trees on the Island. He ran in the Chilmark Road Race from its earliest years, and wore Black Dog T-shirts long before it was cool.

He loved traveling with his wife of 52 years, Rhoda. Together, they biked in the Loire Valley, hiked through the rainforests of Costa Rica, and pre-pandemic, sailed the Galapagos Islands.

Dr. Nussbaum led a long and varied career that began with two decades at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. There, he led the Clinical Endocrine Group Practice, a place that became a training ground for many leaders in American medicine.

His time at the endocrine group coincided with the birth of molecular endocrinology, and his work helped unlock many of the secrets of how parathyroid hormone operates, binds to receptors and helps control calcium levels and bone health. His research paved the way for the creation of synthetic parathyroid hormone and other drugs and treatments for osteoporosis.

At Mass General, his attentive, generous, and soft-spoken bedside manner earned him the gratitude and loyalty of patients, who would occasionally render payment in the form of live lobsters and Red Sox tickets.

His leadership of the endocrine group led him to health care management, where he became chairman of the board of the troubled HMO Bay State Health Care, and orchestrated its merger with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he became chief medical officer.

In subsequent years, he served as executive vice president of BJC Health Care in St. Louis, Mo., and executive vice president and chief medical officer for Anthem, Inc. While at Anthem, Dr. Nussbaum received the 2004 Physician Executive Award of Excellence from the American College of Physician Executives and Modern Physician magazine, and was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 most influential physician executives in health care.

He brought to those roles a tireless commitment to patient advocacy and population health. He worked to ensure that the insurance industry embraced and covered new therapies. He immersed himself in patient outcome data to advocate for greater precision in treating individuals and populations.

After retiring from Anthem, he advised startups, biotech firms, publicly traded companies and pension funds. Of particular interest to him were companies developing tests that would allow for the early detection of major diseases.

He grew up in Kingston, N.Y., the middle of three children. He spent summers working at his family’s hotel in the Catskills, the Bonnie View.

After finishing Kingston high school in three years, he matriculated to the Scholars Program at New York University, where he met Rhoda. He received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, graduating first in his class. He trained in internal medicine at Stanford University and Massachusetts General Hospital and in endocrinology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rhoda Kahn Nussbaum; son Jeffrey; daughters Cara and her husband Scott Fudemberg and Barrie and her husband Dan Levine; six grandchildren, two nieces, Lisa and Jessica, and five grand-nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his sister Ila and her husband John Falvey; brother Bruce Nussbaum; two surprisingly devoted cats, and several dozen jars of his homegrown raspberry jam.

One of his favorite sayings was that life was lived in three phases: learning, earning, and, through mentorship, teaching, and charity, returning.

A memorial service will be held at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Donaations can be made to the Nussbaum Family fund at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, the MV Hebrew Center Summer Institute, or to a charity of choice.