By Sue Moore
“Everyone should have the same access to quality health care,” says Dr. Matt Miller, the new recruit at Bronson Family Medicine – Vicksburg.
“I love to care for families from joy to sorrow. It’s great to be a partner, to build rapport. It’s not always about medicine. I like to listen so my patients feel validated,” Miller emphasizes. “I always want to be advocating for a better quality of life for whatever the patient needs.”
“I see myself as the quarterback for the patient, looking at the big picture, making sure the medications work together well. If there is a problem within the system, I’ll fight for my patient. It’s important to also learn to work within the bureaucracy.”
Dr. Miller has been in practice in VanWert, Ohio in recent years. The decision to move to Vicksburg’s primary care practice was easier for him because he is a native of this area and a Vicksburg High School graduate.
His mother and dad are still living in Scotts on the family homestead. Howard and Gayle Miller have four children, with Matt being the youngest. He says he has wanted to be a doctor since he was in sixth grade. It just might be that he was a bit influenced by his mother who worked for 20 or more years as an LPN at what was then Bronson Vicksburg Hospital. He has a sister, Laura, who is a retired nurse, another sister, Karen, who doesn’t like the sight of blood, and a brother, Tim, who excelled in football while in Vicksburg High School and at Olivet College. He now teaches industrial arts in Williamston.
Miller said his oldest son, Daniel, 16, told him, “Dad, it’s not something I want to do [move], but if it’s for the family, I’ll do it,” when he was factoring in all the aspects of leaving his friends behind in Ohio. Daniel’s oldest sister, Erin, is out of the nest and Luke (14) and Emma (13) have all started school this fall at Heritage Christian. Their mom, Martha, was teaching school at a private Christian school right after college and is now teaching Bible school in their new church in Portage. Her mother, Gertie or Gertrude, 91, moved with the family to come to this area – as long as she could stay close to the grandchildren she is happy. She is originally from Detroit and has made friends at church and is deeply involved in a Bible study group.
Coach Ed Knapp at VHS had an abiding influence on Miller, he says. He played football for him and was on the wrestling team. “He inspired me to always be better and not let down; just follow your dreams. Mine were to go to med school, so I found a good pre-med offering at Indiana Wesleyan University, then Wayne State for medical training and St. Francis Hospital in Indiana for my residency in family practice.” He also had a fellowship in Ob/Gyn practice at the University of Tennessee. He started at Forest City, a small town in Arkansas, where he delivered babies as a mainstay of his practice.
“My parents did a lot for me growing up. Now its my turn to help them out,” Miller explains. “Besides, Dr. Schriemer has been a mentor to me. I owe him a lot too and I’ll be closer to my family.”
Dr. Miller won’t be the only new doctor in the Vicksburg practice. Dr. Evan Fitzgerald also started in October. Both are accepting new patients and picking up those of Dr. Karl Kerchief, who is retiring in December.