An Intern becomes the Director in 1973

Jack Walker served 1969-1972 as the founding Director of Medical Education at the Family Practice Clinic/Residency Program, and then Dr. Edgar Cleaver took over that duty, as well as the director of the Public Health Department. His was a brief term, and the Medical Education Committee turned to an unusual source for their new director. Christian Ramsey, MD had come to the program as a first year resident in 1973, and had unusual leadership experience before coming, including serving as President of the Institute for Study of Health and Society in Washington, D.C. He was appointed the new acting Director December 1973 while still an intern! Since he was also a resident, Dr. May Wang was appointed Clinic Director until Chris graduated from the program in June of 1976.

Dr. Ramsey served as the director until 1982 when he was recruited to be the chairman of Family Medicine at OU Med school. During his tenure, several more faculty were hired, the number of residents per year expanded to eight, the program became affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, the Faculty Development Center was founded, the (Lyndon) Olson bill passed the state legislature that brought state aid for family medicine education, and a new building was built for the Family Practice Clinic. These and many more accomplishments likely would not have happened without Dr. Ramsey’s leadership and diligence.

Dr. Ramsey’s assistant was Laura Barrett, and she held him in high esteem. “Chris was a tall, energetic man, completely confident in every situation. He was brilliant, and he was multi-talented. An accomplished classical pianist with a Steinway baby grand he kept perfectly tuned, he played many types of music beautifully, all by memory. When he and Patty bought an older, very lovely, two-story home, he had a family room built onto the back. He completed the interior himself, buying old boards from a building that was being demolished, then refinished each one, and laid them down for flooring. When he enclosed the side porch, he designed and laid the stunning and intricate brick floor, again by himself.”

“He seemed to always be a man on a mission. You could hear him coming quickly down the hall at Providence, either whistling or talking with someone, ready to start dictating letters as soon as he walked in the door. He was completely organized, and was a prolific correspondent. He constantly sought ways to bring more educational opportunities to the residents, as well as to the members of the MCMS. He insisted that he was never to be treated differently from the other residents, and looked carefully at all rotation schedules to ensure it didn’t appear that he received preferential treatment. He appeared to us as a man of great integrity, who also had a great sense of humor.”

Nicholas Steinour, MD

When did you come to Waco?

I grew up in Gettysburg, PA and came to Baylor University for undergraduate studies. My first exposure to Waco healthcare was as a volunteer at the old Hillcrest ED in 1999. I continued to volunteer through 2003 and also had the unique opportunity to conduct psychological research at the Waco VA. I left Waco (and Texas) for medical school and residency and came back to Austin, TX in 2010 and returned to my alma mater in 2014 as medical director of the emergency department. My draw to return to Waco was a combination of the job opportunity, a busy clinical environment, and a chance to provide mentorship to aspiring premedical students at Baylor.

What are a few of the leadership positions you have held in Waco?

I serve as medical director for the Providence ED. I serve as a Board Member for the MCMS as well as a board member for Care4Texans, the clinically integrated network serving central Texans. This spring I am leading a group of AMSA students from Baylor on a medical mission trip to Guatemala. I also serve on the board for Texas College of Emergency Physicians which is state wide, but I certainly represent the needs of Waco.

What do you hope to see happen in the future?

My dream is that we have a way of merging various EMR’s to create an accessible EMR that travels with the patient. As technology improves, I see patients taking an ever-increasing role in ownership of their own health and stewards of their healthcare records. Biometric watches are here now, and I see this trend in wearable health tech rapidly expanding which will increasingly engage patients in daily calorie counts, pedometers, resting heart rates, etc. If we could upload this data and have it available to physicians, we would have insight into the daily lives of our patients unlike ever before. That excites me and I can’t wait to see what is on the horizon.

What else besides medicine do you enjoy in life?

I love to travel, having visited all seven continents (after my upcoming Antarctic expedition later this year). I am a fan of great food and the culture found in cuisine from around the world. I run marathons, and recently started road bicycling as Waco is a great place to road ride. I cherish days where I can go wakeboarding and snow skiing. I enjoy high performance driving on race tracks throughout Texas.And most importantly is my loving wife and our recent newborn baby Elinor Jean!

If there is one message you’d give to today’s physician, what would it be?

Medicine, as with everything in life, is constantly changing. Those who resist change will spend many days frustrated; for those who embrace it, opportunities abound.

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