By Sue Moore
Two new doctors at one time for Bronson Family Medicine-Vicksburg will be a big help to the community in serving its medical care needs, said Linda Hutchinson, director of practice operations from Bronson Medical Group. Dr. Evan Fitzgerald and Dr. Matt Miller are the most recent recruits to the family practice.
Dr. Karl Kerchief plans to retire at the end of December after 30 years of serving patients, leaving Dr. David Schriemer as the senior physician on staff.
This family practice has a rich history in Vicksburg, having been formed 108 years ago by Dr. Z.L. Gilding. He was succeeded by his son, Dr. Joe Gilding then Drs. Paul Chapman, Rodney Rodgers and Lloyd Appell. These doctors were dedicated to community service during their many years in the practice.. Besides joining service clubs and participating in many events, nearly every family practice doctor became a member of the School Board, guiding the growth and development of education in Vicksburg as a primary objective. Bronson Healthcare purchased the practice in 2018 and has been a big help in recruiting new physicians to Vicksburg.
Fitzgerald said he was looking for a position in southwestern Michigan after finishing his residency at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Va. “I interviewed with Bronson and really liked the opportunity. It fit with what I wanted in a small-town practice, having grown up in Dexter, Mich. until going away to college at Miami University of Ohio.”
Majoring in engineering and applied physics, his first job out of college was with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Washington D.C. He stayed there for seven years helping people run experiments, while wanting something different in his life. Thus, the pull to go to medical school at Ohio State University because he was looking for something more out of his career. He does acknowledge the need to show loyalty to the University of Michigan while in Ohio because his hometown of Dexter was so close to Ann Arbor.
Upon graduation he did his internship in Virginia and residency at a large family practice in Fairfax, all the while knowing he would like to work in a smaller setting where he could feel like he was making a difference. “I wanted a family practice where I could become a part of the community, take care of everybody with lots of different things [illnesses] to see in a more rural setting,” he said. “The challenge is to stay up to date in medicine and do as much as we can before moving patients on to specialists if it does become necessary.”
He and Dr. Miller are both accepting new patients while dividing up the patient load from the soon to be retired Dr. Kerchief. A letter has been sent to his patients to give them an opportunity to decide which new doctor they want to be taking over their health care needs.