Health Care, Human Resources, and Nonprofits

Doctor wins Clinician of the Year award

March 17, 2015
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Doctor wins Clinician of the Year
Ronald Duemler. Courtesy Mercy Health

A doctor who’s served geriatric patients for more than 20 years is a national health care society’s Clinician of the Year.

The American Geriatrics Society, or AGS, will honor Mercy Health’s Dr. Ronald Duemler, medical director of geriatrics, as the 2015 Clinician of the Year during its Annual Scientific Meeting from May 15-17 at National Harbor, Md.

Dr. Wayne McCormick, president of AGS, said Duemler is a skilled geriatrics leader and ardent advocate for health in aging.

“His 20-plus years of service to the field are a testament to this award and have helped advance care delivery, care quality and awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing older adults and their health care teams,” McCormick said.


Since helping to start the department's establishment in 1994, Duemler has served as medical director of geriatrics at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and Mercy Health Physician Partners in Grand Rapids.

He has also served as an attending physician and medical director of Grand Rapids-based Holland Home and its HomeCare of Holland Home division for more than two decades.

Holland Home, founded in 1892, is Michigan’s largest nonprofit provider of senior services and ranks as the 46th-largest continuing care retirement community in the nation, according to the LeadingAge" Ziegler 150" report in 2014.


In response to receiving the Clinician of the Year award, Duemler said when he received the initial notification by email, he thought it might be a hoax.

“I was kind of stunned,” Duemler said. “My clinical career hasn’t changed very much. Since I came here, I have been the attending physician and medical director of Holland Home’s nursing facilities and that has been the core of my clinical life for my whole career.

“There aren’t a lot of people that have been able to do that as a career, because it is not easy for health care systems to support. A majority of my patients don’t remember my name, because I take care of such frail folks.”

The award

Established as an annual award in 1993, the AGS Clinician of the Year recognizes practitioners who have contributed to the delivery of quality geriatric care and serve as role models for the importance of geriatrics as a health specialty.

Clinicians are eligible for nomination if the majority of their activities focus on the delivery of patient care in the office, hospital, long-term care facility or community setting.

AGS reviews a range of criteria when considering nominees for award: continuing medical education; access and availability to patients; clear and effective communication with patients and families; awareness of ethical and social issues in the practice of medicine; and contributing to community health care efforts.

The winner is also awarded $2,000 in addition to being honored at the Annual Scientific Meeting.

American Geriatrics Society

AGS, founded in 1942, comprises more than 6,200 health professionals dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of older adults.

The society provides leadership and advocacy for programs in research, professional and public education and patient care.

AGS is based in New York. 

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