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As published in Toledo Business Journal - July 1, 2009
2009 Healthcare Heroes
The healthcare profession is one where acts of heroism often go
unnoticed, because they happen
every day. Healthcare Heroes do not act for praise, recognition, or job advancement. Indeed, their
stories are not always picked up by the local media or communicated outside of their
organizations. Rather, Healthcare Heroes are motivated by a desire to make a difference in the
lives they touch.
Healthcare Heroes was launched in 2008 to recognize the
extraordinary impact that exceptional
healthcare professionals have on the healthcare industry and on the quality of life in their
The First Annual Healthcare Heroes Recognition Ceremony, held on
June 25, 2009, recognizes
the extraordinary contributions healthcare makes to the quality of life in northwest Ohio and
southeast Michigan. Each honoree has received an award for the honor.
Healthcare Heroes has honored 42 candidates and five recipients this
year, including a Lifetime
Achievement Award. To qualify for the Lifetime Achievement Award, a healthcare leader must have
left a mark on healthcare through a career (of at least 25 years) of heroic acts, compassion, honor,
and integrity that have helped to put our region at the forefront of healthcare.
The Healthcare Heroes exemplify the contributions healthcare makes to the region.
A hero is usually an ordinary person doing extraordinary things,
distinguished for his or her courage
or ability. They may also be someone who is a model for others that has performed a heroic deed
and/or tirelessly given of his/her time, talent, and expertise to improve health.
A Healthcare Hero could be a physician, nurse, allied health
administrator, educator, or caregiver that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Healthcare
Heroes should demonstrate honesty, integrity, humility, courage, and commitment.
For example, a Healthcare Hero may be a healthcare professional who
quality and compassionate patient care; is breaking new ground in the healthcare arena through a
new advancement, improvement of efficiencies, or through a new initiative; is providing research
and is on the cutting edge of clinical research to ultimately improve patient care; is an
accomplished healthcare educator that is inspiring the next generation of healthcare providers; is a
healthcare leader who exceeds all expectations when it comes to influencing growth and
development of healthcare to meet the needs of the community; or is a healthcare provider making
a meaningful contribution to community health improvement, including but not limited to increasing
access to healthcare for the low income uninsured.
Gordon Food Service; The Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio; and
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick,
LLP are Gold Sponsors for Healthcare Heroes while Gilmore, Jasion & Mahler, LTD and Hylant
Group are Silver Sponsors. Toledo Business Journal is the media partner and Kristian Brown,
13ABC, is the host and emcee for the event.
Joyce Granberry, RNC has devoted her professional life to the
advancement of women, providing
them with the knowledge and means to plan their lives via her work as one of the Toledo area’s
longest practicing nurse practitioners.
As a child, Granberry helped provide care for her grandmother after
she suffered a life-altering
stroke, which led Granberry to pursue a career in nursing. She was the first African American
student at Hamilton General Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She came to northwest Ohio in
1960 and during her career she has worked at St. Charles Hospital, The Toledo Hospital, Planned
Parenthood, the Family Planning Health Council, and most recently at Women & Family Services in
Over the course of her 49-year career, Granberry has provided
medical care to thousands of poor
women who could not afford some or all of the cost of their care. Granberry’s personal mission is to
prevent unintended pregnancies. Along with medical services, she has taught her patients to
maintain good health and plan their families; she has also counseled them on important and
sensitive aspects of their lives. Granberry provides inspiration to the patients she serves and her
co-workers. She cherishes the phone calls, cards, and contact she continues to have with her
patients and colleagues.
Granberry also added to quality medical resources in the area,
volunteering as a hands-on role
model, resource person, and preceptor for student nurses, student nurse practitioners, and student
physician’s assistants. She helped these students with their required training in a clinical setting for
six to eight months before taking their certification exams, while simultaneously performing her
regular job duties.
These combined efforts positively impacted the community by helping
to improve health –
especially among low-income mothers and their children.
Up until the agency closed in May, Granberry worked at Women &
Family Services in Defiance,
making the 60-mile trek twice a week to provide healthcare services to those less fortunate out of
compassion for her fellow man.
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Kenneth A. Kropp, M.D. considers his greatest achievements in
healthcare to be the development
of a premier residency program as well as his role in stimulation of interesting medical students
into in entering the urology program at the University of Toledo (UT) College of Medicine. In his
time at UT, he guided 66 physicians through residency, shaping their careers in the process.
Kropp came to Toledo in 1971 to serve as an associate professor of
surgery and division chief of
urology at the then Medical College of Ohio (MCO). In 1978, he was promoted to professor of
surgery and a year later was appointed professor of pediatrics. Before his appointment to
chairman of urology when it gained department status in 1991, he served as acting chairman of
surgery for one year on three separate occasions.
Under his guidance at MCO, urology grew to 29 faculty members and 61 employees.
Contributing to this growth was Kropp’s work in making the specialty
part of all medical student
clinical rotations and his efforts in strengthening the department’s basic science research program.
He further distinguished the department by performing the first
renal transplant procedure in
northwest Ohio, and today the UT Medical Center’s kidney transplant program is among the
busiest in the country with nearly 2,000 procedures performed since 1972. His dedication to renal
replacement therapy helped fuel this program, which is unique in the area.
Kropp is also recognized as a master surgeon in the subspecialty of
pediatric urology, with over 80
peer-reviewed publications to his name. One of his innovations, the Kropp-Angwafo bladder neck
reconstruction procedure, is now widely used to help treat urinary incontinence in children.
He is recognized nationally as a leader in pediatric urology, having
held positions on several
committees and societies for urologists including the American Board of Urology and American
College of Surgeons (ACS). He has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Urology, the
Urologic Society for Transplantation and Vascular Surgery, and the Society for University
Urologists (of which he was a founding member).
Kropp received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American
Urological Association in
2008, given for outstanding achievements and contributions to urology residency education,
research, productivity, conducting seminars, and international activities. His son, Bradley P. Kropp,
M.D., also received the organization’s Gold Cystoscope Award, given for outstanding contributions
to the profession during the decade following their residency training, at the same time. It is
believed to be the first time a father and son were simultaneously honored at the event.
In addition, Kenneth Kropp has received the Children’s Miracle
Network Endowed Chair for
Children’s Services in 1996, the Medical Award for Outstanding Service in the Renal Field for the
Kidney Foundation in 1998, and the Award of Distinction for the Toledo Surgical Society in 1998.
In 2008, Kropp stepped down as chair of the urology department at
UT. Today, his support for the
organization continues in the form of a gift from him and his wife Patsy to an endowment named in
his honor. The income from the endowment provides funding for research and expanded programs
and aid in faculty recruitment and retention.
Kropp is an advocate for the health of his patients and he helps to
teach the parents of his patients
to be advocates for the health of their children. He and his wife have firsthand experience, as – in
addition to their own family – they have parented 64 newborn foster babies.
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Over the course of her career, Elizabeth S. Ruppert, M.D. has shown
a long-term focus on children
with special healthcare needs, both in her role as professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of
Ohio (MCO) – now the University of Toledo College of Medicine – and as an advocate on their
behalf in the community.
Dr. Ruppert received her bachelor’s degree at Tulane University in
New Orleans, LA and her
medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She began her medical
practice as a neonatologist taking care of sick babies. This instilled in her a commitment to work
as a pediatrician to help children live productive lives despite their health challenges and to prevent
poor birth outcomes through community intervention.
In her tenure at MCO from 1977 to 2003, Ruppert contributed to the
education of hundreds of
students in their medical school years and pediatric residency. Aside from her duties as professor
of pediatrics, she also served in the developmental and behavioral pediatrics and ambulatory
As an advocate in the community, Ruppert helped establish the
EduCare Center and the
Prescribed Pediatric Center (PPC) in 1993, which were created to provide early services and
parental support for families with children that have special healthcare needs. She continues to
support both organizations, currently serving as PPC’s medical director.
She is also a founding member of the Lucas County Initiative to
Improve Birth Outcomes, which
utilizes cutting-edge strategies to find low-income, at risk mothers; connect them to care; and
measure health outcomes.
Ruppert has helped the initiative raise almost $750,000 to pilot
performance-based care and
coordination that has received attention from the US Health Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Another initiative launched during Ruppert’s tenure as president of
the Ohio Chapter of the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) from 1995 to 2000 was Reach Out and Read, an early
literacy program used by all pediatric residency programs in Ohio as well as hundreds of Ohio
pediatricians and family doctors in private offices and clinics. The AAP also formed a charitable
organization and received the Outstanding Large Chapter award during her presidency.
In the 1980s, Ruppert collaborated with other professionals to
write, lobby, and testify for the
successful passage of State legislation to test newborns for hearing impairment at birth and to
provide appropriate follow-up if any issues were found.
In the community, she has served as chair of the United Way board of
trustees from 2000 to 2003
and spearheaded the development of an Early Childhood Initiative, which the organization
continues to support today.
Other community organizations Ruppert has supported include Planned
Parenthood of Greater
Toledo, Inc.; Toledo Crittenden Services; WSOS Project Head Start; Association for Children with
Learning Disabilities Ohio Chapter; Easter Seals of Northwest Ohio; March of Dimes – Toledo; St.
Anthony’s Villa; Camp Courageous, Inc.; Lucas County Board of Mental Retardation and
Developmental Disabilities; Lucas County Family and Children’s First Cabinet Council; and the
Toledo Community Foundation.
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Dr. Richard D. Ruppert, M.D. has helped to shape healthcare
education in northwest Ohio. As the
third president of the (formerly named) Medical College of Ohio (MCO) from 1977-1993, Ruppert’s
greatest accomplishment was the expansion of both the school’s physical and intellectual footprints
to meet the healthcare needs of the community.
During his tenure, the number of faculty and students increased in
each of MCO’s four schools –
the School of Allied Health, Graduate Education, the School of Medicine, and the School of
Nursing – to the point where over 2,000 students were receiving their instructions or clinical
experiences at any given time.
To accommodate those increases, Ruppert led the efforts that
resulted in MCO constructing a 270-
bed University hospital; Dowling Hall, which houses faculty offices and Coughlin Pavilion, a 36-bed
rehabilitation hospital; Kobacker Center, a children’s and adolescent’s psychiatric center; and
Henry L. Morse Center, a sports facility designed to improve exercise programs for recovering
patients and the prevention of disease, which also includes an exercise facility for faculty and
students. An ambulatory care center was also established, which was renamed the Richard D.
Ruppert Health Center by the board of trustees at the time of his retirement in 1993.
Research grants coming into MCO ranked it third in the state for
external funding. To capitalize on
this funding, Ruppert developed the Northwest Ohio Technology Center in order to interest private
industries to build on the campus with development of new technologies and research. At times,
new research development was a joint effort with MCO faculty.
Ruppert also works in other ways to promote economic development,
medical care, and medical
education in Toledo and northwest Ohio.
From 1988 to 1997, he served on the board of the Toledo-Lucas County
Port Authority, holding the
position of chairman from 1993 to 1996. He also served on the board of the Toledo Trust Bank
from 1978 to 1990 and continued to serve with Society Bank and KeyBank as Toledo Trust’s
successors, retiring in 2000.
Ruppert served on the Physicians’ Insurance Company of Ohio board
from 1988 to 1995 and
continues on as a member of its successor, PICO Holdings, Inc. of La Jolla, California, as
chairman of its audit committee. He has also been an active member of The American Society of
Internal Medicine and served as its president in 1992 and 1993.
In 1992, he served on former Ohio Governor George Voinovich’s Ohio
Board of Regents task
force, “Managing for the Future.” He has also served as chairman of the United Way Campaign for
Northwest Ohio and a board member of the Junior League of Toledo from 1990 to 1996.
Other organizations Ruppert has supported over the years include the
Ohio Historical Society,
Lucas County Improvement Corporation (LCIC), Rotary Club of Toledo, Hayes Presidential Center,
and the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA).
Prior to his tenure at MCO, Ruppert received his undergraduate and
medical degrees from the
Ohio State University (OSU). He served on the faculty of the OSU College of Medicine from 1965
to 1974 in a variety of roles – from assistant professor / gastroenterology to medical director,
patient services – and as vice chancellor, health affairs of the Ohio Board of Regents from 1974 to
Dr. Ruppert has been recognized with a variety of awards that
acknowledge his tremendous
contributions to medicine and the community, including being named a Master Fellow of the
American College of Physicians and receiving the Outstanding Community Service Award from the
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According to David K. Scheer, M.D., the thrills and challenges of
medicine are what have kept him
practicing at West Central Medicine Group for over 60 years. In that time, he has come to consider
his ability to help others – to diagnose a sick patient, bring them back to health, and see the joy in
their faces when they are better – his greatest accomplishment.
He has also gained a reputation for being a true partner, a doctor
with whom others are honored to
practice medicine. Scheer builds quality relationships with other physicians, which allows the
practice to operate more smoothly and focus on patient care.
His office – with mounds of medical textbooks, dozens of anatomical
models, and certificates and
diplomas fighting for space on the walls – displays Scheer’s dedication and unprecedented work
ethic. In 2006, his number of patient encounters ranked him in the top 10 of internal medicine
physicians within ProMedica Physician Group.
Scheer’s continued training also shows his dedication to medicine.
For over 50 years, he has
taken continuing medical education courses, starting before such courses were required. By that
time, he had accumulated more than enough hours to surpass the requirement, yet still continued to
While a diligent student, Scheer is also a diligent educator. Years
ago, he taught at the former
Maumee Valley Hospital before it became part of the former Medical College of Ohio. More
importantly though, is the education he provides his patients allowing them to become advocates
of their own health and well-being.
Scheer’s dedication to his patients is also shown by the house calls
he made well into the 1980s,
long after most other physicians discontinued the practice. Every Sunday, he could be found at a
neighbor’s where he’d be inside checking blood pressure, continuing until both husband and wife
In a desire to better serve his patients, Scheer chose the
organizations he volunteered services to
carefully. However, he still managed to work with the American Heart Association, the Veteran’s
Hospital in Michigan, and a summer camp for diabetic children. He has also served on committees
for the local Academy of Medicine.
His service to the community continues today as he is still
providing high-quality, compassionate
medical care to his patients on a full-time basis. Scheer’s hospital rounds begin at 7 a.m., and he
is busy finishing paperwork and returning calls 12 hours later – long after both patients and staff
have left the building.
…Return to recipients
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