May 20 2013

Beloved doctor, medical educator killed in crash

A “physician’s physician” known for his devotion to high-quality patient care and training future physicians was killed Saturday following an automobile crash on Interstate 94.

Steven E. Gradwohl, M.D., who had been on the Medical School faculty since 1994, was a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine and practiced general internal medicine at the Briarwood Medical Group. An investigation of the crash is underway.

“Steve was not only a very caring and outstanding clinician, he was also a dear friend to many of us in the department and across the university,” says Internal Medicine Chair John Carethers, M.D.

Laurence McMahon, M.D., chief of the General Medicine division, notes, “With a ready smile, full of energy and always willing to help, he will truly be missed. His devotion to his patients and friends was only exceeded by that to his family.” Gradwohl is survived by his wife Lisa Mann, N.P., and their two daughters, Alexandra and Kelsey.

A graduate of Carleton College and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, Gradwohl had been named by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America several times. He was an Army veteran, having served on active duty while in medical residency at the Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, and in medical leadership posts at Fort Lee in Virginia and the Presidio in San Francisco. He came to Michigan in 1994, attracted by the opportunity to take part in medical education in an outpatient setting.

“He was an outstanding teacher of his colleagues, our resident physicians, and medical students,” says Thomas O’Connor, M.D., medical director of the Briarwood Medical Group. “Steve was an outstanding physician devoted to his patients from the day he first joined us.”

Says James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., dean of the Medical School, “Steve was a wonderful colleague, friend and one of our finest physicians. From his dedicated, empathic and compassionate care for his patients, to his ready availability and willingness to assist colleagues, to his commitment to the education of the next generation of physicians, everyone who came to know Steve was better for it. We will all miss his warmth, humor and intellect. May his family find comfort in knowing how much he was respected and admired by his friends and colleagues at U-M.”

Gradwohl won the Medical School’s Outstanding Clinician Award in 2012, and was cited for excellence in teaching outpatient medicine, and for serving as the internist to many patients with complex medical conditions. He volunteered regularly at the health clinic run by U-M physicians at the Ann Arbor Shelter Association’s homeless shelter, and served on a University-wide committee on employee health and wellness.

“To lose any of our dedicated clinicians in such a way is a tragedy, but our loss is compounded by the fact that Steve played such a key role in our academic medical center,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., CEO of the U-M Health System. “Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family.”

Gradwohl was a member of the Executive Committee on Clinical Affairs, a team of top clinicians from across the U-M Faculty Group Practice who advise top leadership on many clinical topics and credentialing of physicians. An advocate and teacher of evidence-based medicine, he led the development of, and co-authored, a key guideline for the treatment of urinary tract infections and a self-study online course for physicians and other health care providers anywhere.

During his military service, Gradwohl earned the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Physician Recognition Award, two Meritorious Service medals and two Army Commendation medals. He was chosen as an inaugural member of the Clinical Excellence Society, an honor bestowed on few of U-M’s hundreds of internal medicine physicians.

A memorial will be held Thursday, May 23 from 6-9 p.m. in the ballroom on the second floor of the Michigan Union. All are welcome.

34 Responses to “Beloved doctor, medical educator killed in crash”

  1. Ruth Meitz says:

    Dr. Gradwohl made everyone here at BMG feel like his family. He had nicknames for all of us that he made up. I liked coming to work because of him.

  2. Kenneth Snowdon says:

    This was not only a truly great physician, he was a great man. Dr. Gradwohl is the only pcp I have ever known because he made a difference, he made me comfortable to be treated regularly. I owe my own life to him, I am sure. Prior to my first encounter with Dr. Gradwohl I had treatment strictly in the ER, he changed that for me with his manner and care. Over the years I loved the fact that I got to know him better and better, both as a patient of his and as someone that was able to facilitate his referrals in the clinic I work in, enjoying his kindness and sense of humor. He was genuinely excited at my last visit that I was finally able to kick my smoking habit, not sure he knew just how much of a role he played in my motivation to quit. My wife loved to make a special plate to bring him, as he loved the filipino food she made him. I will miss you so much Dr. Gradwohl, in so many ways. My heart aches at the thought of your passing, our world is a lesser place today than it was on Friday. May your wonderful family find peace in knowing how many lives, like my own, that this incredible man has touched and changed for the better. I don’t know how I will seek regular care again, but I will do it so that his efforts won’t be in vain. Godspeed Doctor Steven Gradwohl, you were the best!

  3. John Andrews says:

    Dr. Gradwohl was not only my physician but a man who I respected and cared for deeply. He always encouraged me to take my health seriously and was always open to trying different things I felt comfortable with to improve my overall health. He was a pcp for my father-in-law, best man in my wedding and another close friend. He’ll be sorely missed. I pray for his family and friends that God gives them comfort, peace and lift the heavy burden from their hearts. My funniest memory was when Dr. Gradwohl was part of a theatrical production where he grew a full beard and mustache, he looked so different, made me giggle when I first saw him. Again I’ll miss him very much and a pastor once told me that loss hurts but time heals.

  4. James says:

    Dr. Gradwohl well forever me missed, he has always put his patient first not looking at them as patients but close friends. My heart is sadden and my love and prayers goes out the his family and most of all his children whom he spoken highly of.

  5. Anita says:

    A wonderful person to work for. He will be sorely missed. A lesson here-if someone inspires you, let them know, and let them know often.

  6. Barbara Jean says:

    What a loss to the medical community. Dr. Gradwohl was a wonderful person, doctor, family-man, and dear friend. He will be sadly missed. I owed him a Diet Coke at my next patient visit…because he as usual was right, and I was wrong.
    My deepest sympathies to his family.
    “May the road rise-up and meet you, and the wind always be at your back.”

  7. Mark says:

    I stopped hating having to go see the doctor because of him.

  8. susan says:

    What a warm friendly man. He was my PCP for 10 years. All of my health history was in his memory, not just on computer. I am at a lost on who I might find as a new doctor. Thank you Dr Gradwohl for helping me thru my ups and downs. I will miss you dearly.

  9. Shaney says:

    So honored to have worked with such a great doctor! Dr gradwohl kept us all on our toes and demanded we were treated with respect! His patients love and praised him daily for his dedication to their care! I cannot describe how saddened we all are to have lost such a great man. We are forever changed!

  10. Jim says:

    Such a tremendous loss. Steve guided my son through medical school and provided enormous support when my daughter was treated for a neoplasm of the heart. As my PCP and colleague in a number of projects, I am experiencing a loss that will never be refilled yet the experience of his wisdom and compassion will never be forgotten. I was blessed to have known him and this will always be cherished in my memory.

  11. Jennifer Bolton says:

    Dr. Gradwohl was truly an amazing physician in addition to being a caring and compassionate human being. Dr. Gradwohl was my PCP while I worked at U of M and he was someone who enjoyed caring for his patients—no matter what walk of life they came from. To me, Dr. Gradwohl was a blessing from God as he helped me get through some trying times and was not here to judge you but to help you through life and he did this with the utmost sincerity, warmth, and devotion. I will never forget Dr. Gradwohl and the wonderful care he provided me…I owe him a BIG THANK YOU for making my life better. May God watch over his family during this difficult time.

    Dr. Gradwohl—you may have left us, but I know you will never be forgotten.

    Thank you for putting the CARE in Primary Care Physician.



  12. Bob Warsham says:

    I wish to first express my condolences to his family, most especially his wife and daughters, and to the extended University family, colleagues and patients. I am thankful to have experienced the “Gradwoh”l care and concern.. Early on we discovered a mutual interest in vintage and. Antique wristwatches and when time permitted we compared reccent acquisitions. As my doctor he never rushed our appointments and would call with updates, virtually unheard of in this day and age. Good bye and may ange lo s carry to your rest.

  13. Daniel Myers says:

    Steven was my friend and primary care doctor. He would get me into see him at anytime. If the clinic was extremely busy, he would come to the lobby and get me to start my exam so that I would not have to wait. He aggressively diagnosed my early stage prostate cancer. He said just a couple of weeks ago he wanted me to live a long life.
    My heart and prayers go out to his family. He will alway be remembered.

  14. Erik says:

    I can’t imagine maneuvering the UM health system without Dr. Gradwohl. He was the doctor that anyone would want to have. I’ve read the commments from people and am not surprised that they’ve all had similar experiences with such an expert, considerate, and genuinely concerned physician. What a tremendous loss to his clinic, patients, and the UMHS community. You’ll be sorely missed, Dr. Gradwohl. God bless you and your family.

  15. Ira Mark says:

    I was one of Steve’s first patients. As the years passed we developed a wonderful friendship. He has always been there for me and my family. We truly were “buddies”. There have been may kind things written about Steve and all are right on. I am so happy to read them because I have found it nearly impossible to put my thoughts down without tearing up and rambling on. My heart aches for his family, friends and colleagues. He had a wide reach and left a mark with so many. RIP SEG my buddy.

  16. Cris Carbonneau says:

    My thought’s and prayers go out to the family, co-workers & staff at BW # 03.
    From : ASC – CRP Float

  17. Stephanie Shreve says:

    Ruth, that is so true, he had nicknames for everyone and truely cared about you. I only worked with him for right over a year but he was that kind of person in life that you met for a reason. He was full of life and you learned so much from him. I am truely blessed to have known such a wonderful person.

  18. Christine Muscatello says:

    I have had a hard time finding the words to express the loss I feel for Dr. Gradwhol (Dr.G) as I called him when I was employeed at BMG. He was not only my boss and PCP he was as everyone else felt “my friend” every life he came in contact with was effected for the good, he brought laughter, a sense of relief to any problem you may have had, joy, and kindness everywhere he went. There are no words for our loss, I know for so many to go on without him seems impossible, but I know he is looking down at us all and as always giving us the strength to get through this time and remember he will forever be here with us, I believe his spirit will remain with every life he touched. My heart breaks for his amazing family, I am so so sorry, my prayers are with you all and everyone at BMG.

  19. Brad says:

    When I read this I was devastated and my heart goes out to his family and colleagues. Although I did not go to the doctor often, when necessary, it was without anxiety or reservation to visit Dr. Gradwohl.
    He was the best PCP ever for me… so warm and compassionate yet knowledgable and thorough. He would look you in the eye, show genuine interest in your health and was non-judgemental.
    He will be missed; rest in peace Dr. Gradwohl.

  20. Doug Horn says:

    Steve Gradwohl was the only doctor that I was ever comfortable going to. I actually looked forward to visiting him except for the annual exam. His demeanor put you at ease and he laid the facts on the line without busting your chops too heavily. I used to enjoy taking him some home smoked jamaican jerked salmon to his office during the holiday season. He saw me through several years of varied family illness heartbreak and always commented “you know where to find me if you need me.” I’m glad I made him laugh one time when I Listed Kenny G as an allergy. Dr. G came out into checkup area to commend me on that as he had read it upon completing my paper work.

    I am at at a total loss of who to turn to now as I cannot imagine any one else filling his shoes.

    There are not higher words of praise available. I hope for peace and healing for his beloved family and friends.

  21. Beth Moore says:

    Steve was a Michigan colleague and the PCP for both me and my husband for over 15 years, and for our son for the last several years. He was extremely approachable and a wonderful physician. He even answered an email from us while he was on vacation! Just a small example of his dedication to his patients. We shared a love of golf and passion for our respective student athletes. Our hearts break for his family, friends and colleagues. We will certainly miss him and it is clear many others will as well.

  22. Deb Wright says:

    The devastation and feeling of loss is overwhelming! Dr.G was my best friend and confidant. He and I worked together for 20 years and that was not long enough!!!!
    He did so many things for my family and myself! A kind, caring, understanding physicain, man and friend. Saying he will be missed just doesn’t seem to be enough. I loved him as my doctor and my friend. There are so many people who knew him and loved him. BMG will never be the same without him!!!!! I miss him terribly. My heartfelt sympathy and condolences go out to Lisa, Alex and Kelsey. Love to all of you.

  23. Debbie Allen says:

    Dr Gradwohl was both of my son’s doctor for years. He was always so kind and never rushed. My Sons are mentally challanged and will miss him. Ours thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  24. Britt says:

    It is with a sad heart I write today. Dr. Gradwohl, a picture of health and a physician who practiced what he preached when it came to exercise and living healthy. As his patient I was never in doubt of his clinical skill, knowledge and professional opinion. He was always available to me via e-mail or phone and demonstrated a sincere and genuine interest in my overall health. He will be deeply missed. My condolences to all of his family and friends and to the Briarwood Bldg. 3 team.

  25. Sam Crupi says:

    I feel so lucky to have known and worked with Dr G. He was funny, intellegent and I had a great deal of respect for him. He was everything you could ask for in a colleague, friend and physician. Saying he will be missed doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings of loss. I will never, ever forget him.

  26. Mark Rhodes says:

    “Dr. Steve” had been my PCP for over a decade, guiding me through many health issues with wise advice and encouragement. While never lecturing me about my “bad habits” – but gently offering viable alternatives and suggestions – he was responsible for allowing me to develop and maintain the determination to continuously improve my quality of life. Although I was just devastated to read of his untimely passing, my heart goes out to his family, friends, and co-workers.

    In his play “Twelfth Night”, William Shakespeare encourages us to “be not afraid of greatness. For some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”.

    Never more appropriate. Godspeed to you, my old friend.

  27. Stan Berent says:

    He was my doctor, my PCP. I felt we could become friends. He sometimes called me “buddy” and asked me how things were going. I miss him.

  28. Joy Berent says:

    We are sad for Dr Gradwohl’s (Steve to your dad) family. One of the articles cited him as being the physician’s physician. He was very kind and caring; when your dad was sick with the mouse serum he even offered to stop by the house on his way home.

  29. Dave F says:

    I practiced with Steve at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco and kept in touch through Christmas cards & such. I was glad to hear that he was moving to my native Michigan. This past weekend while in town I heard the tragic news. Reading all the memorials to Steve is so helpful and heartwarming. What a wonderful man we’ve lost. You will be missed greatly Steve. Condolences to Lisa, his daughters and family.

  30. Kay P says:

    Dr. Gradwohl was one of a kind. I’m lucky to have worked at BMG with him for the last 6 years and was honored to have him as my PCP. He took the very best care of me as I know he did with all his patients. His passing is a enormous loss for our clinic and patients, the entire UMHS and Ann Arbor community, his family and dearly close friends. He told stories of his daughters with such pride and he knew he was lucky to have his wife Lisa to share his life with. I will miss hearing his voice down the hall as he made his way around the building to sometimes just say hello..”Kiiiiirby Puckett!” I will never forget him and his kindness.

  31. Beverly Cass says:

    It is with a heavy heart that I write this. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family. He was a wonderful doctor, so caring and thoughtful. He treated you like you were his only patient. It was a complete honor to have known him and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

  32. Victor Dobrin says:

    “SEG” was my PCP for almost twenty years and he was very attentive in the last year, after my diagnosis with PCa. He called me when needed, at night or weekend. How many doctors do that today? I wish I would have thanked him better than I did. As patients we miss him, but we can only imagine the loss and pain in the hearts of his family.

  33. Carletha Flournoy says:

    I worked with Dr. Gradwohl years ago at Briarwood Medical Group and he was the most down to earth and nicest doctor I had ever met. I had a few family members and friends that I had recommended to him and they later became his patients and they all expressed what a wonderful person he was. When I worked at the clinic we went to see him in a play and I have this song from the play “What ever Lola wants” stuck in my head and I can see him on the stage doing what he loved to do. It is difficult to lose such a great person that makes a huge difference in our lives. You wonder who will pick up where he left off. I feel like I am stuck in a dream….

  34. Marlie Bartow says:

    Dr. Gradwohl was my mother’s physician. She had many complicated health issues and until she met Dr. Gradwohl it was very hard, sometime impossible, to get her to agree to go to her doctor. But she never felt like that with Dr. Gradwohl because she knew he truly cared about her as a person, and not just as a patient. He made many calls to her personally to check on her, as well as to her family to consult, many times after hours. He personally visited her in the hospital and was going to visit her at Hospice before she passed away but time did not allow. She called him her angel, and credited him with keeping her alive for longer than anyone thought possible. She would be devastated right now, as is her family, to know that such a caring, wonderful person who gave so much of himself to others was taken too young. I can only hope that they are now angels together. I thank him for all he did for my mom, I will never forget his kindness and compassion and my heart and sympathy go out to his family, simply cannot imagine their loss. My deepest sympathy to the Gradwohl family. Thank you for sharing him with so many of us.

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