Listen to Ron Chernov, DO, a 1965 graduate of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), discuss his life and medical career, and it's easy to identify two entirely positive, life-changing moments: meeting his wife, Claudia, and being introduced to osteopathic medicine.
The former happened in Phoenix, Arizona, when Ron was an undergraduate at Arizona State University. Married now for 52 years, he and Claudia live an idyllic, active retirement in Aquone, a small village with picturesque views in the western North Carolina mountains. The latter came in Tempe, Arizona, when an ASU advisor took Ron to the office of a friend—an osteopathic physician with a thriving practice. A career and way of life was born from that visit.
Thankful for both, he and Claudia developed a strong sense of giving back and have been regular donors to KCU-COM over the years, never forgetting where they started. The Chernovs support the school, and by extension the next generation of physicians and their future patients, through a planned gift. Their giving has extended to numerous other causes throughout the years as well. Quite simply, when KCU-COM calls, the couple graciously pick up.
"We have never stopped giving to the school," Ron says. "Every year, I think, there's been a bit of a donation. We're just tickled to death there are so many students now who are graduating and branching out into different disciplines of medicine and who are giving back just the same as we did so the school can continue to grow….We're very proud of that."
Advocate for School, Profession
Not only does KCU-COM have a successful and dedicated alumnus in Ron, but also the osteopathic profession as a whole has a passionate advocate, too. "When I joined, there were maybe seven schools of osteopathic medicine," Ron recalls. "And look where we have evolved today. We are so proud of our profession.
"As an osteopathic physician, the boundaries are limitless….It seems in allopathic medicine, or MD medicine, if you go into one specific area, you're not allowed to go into any other areas. In osteopathic medicine, whatever you're trained to do, you can do." And so it all began, rather randomly, with that one visit to a DO's office decades ago. To say the experience made an impression is an understatement.
"I enjoyed everything they had to show me," Ron says. "I couldn't believe the osteopathic profession did so much for people. I was very, very impressed. So, I came home and told my family I was going to go into osteopathic medicine. It was the absolute turning point for everything."
Ron, with Claudia's support, built a successful medical career, tending to patients in what he characterized as a thorough, kind and patient manner throughout more than three decades in Michigan and Florida. He officially retired in the late 1980s, although opportunities arise now and again when he'll tend to a family member, friend or neighbor.
"It's part of your life. It's never away from you….You never stop practicing, you just stop receiving any kind of remuneration," he says, laughing.
"But they do take us out to dinner every once in a while," Claudia quips.
Eyes on Tomorrow
A Cleveland native, Ron came to KCU-COM after earning his bachelor's degree in zoology with a minor in chemistry from ASU. He said KCU, with its metropolitan setting, offered more opportunities than other medical schools he considered.
If there's an impression Ron would like to leave on current students and future physicians, it's one plucked from his own playbook: Communicate clearly with patients—a seemingly simple but highly important part of medicine.
"Sometimes good common sense and knowing how to explain things to patients is so much more important than…knowing everything about everything but not being able to discuss it," he says. Medicine today, Ron notes, is largely impersonal, an unfortunate trend that he believes can be stemmed with better communication and more attention on the patient. "I was always told I was very, very good about communicating with patients."
Though life now is far removed from the hustle of his days practicing, Ron says he wouldn't change any of it, adding that he and Claudia will always appreciate KCU, one simple explanation for their continued generosity.
"We're very thankful for the enjoyment and life we've led because of the opportunity," he says. "And granted, it was a lot of personal effort and a lot of sacrifice to get to where we did….But we're thankful to have the opportunity to give and do what we can."
Make Your Mark on the Profession
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