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He revolutionized cardiac care

Brian Gross, who spurred revolutionary cardiac care changes in the Rogue Valley, has been named First Citizen by The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County.

The local cardiologist was honored Thursday evening during the Chamber’s annual Excellence in Business Awards at the Inn at The Commons.

Gross moved to Medford in 1982, performing his art for 35 years at Southern Oregon Cardiology and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center before retiring from full-time work in May 2017.

For the 69-year-old Gross, that meant trimming an 80- to 90-hour work week to 40, said Asante President and CEO Roy Vinyard, who presented the award.

“I spoke at his retirement party last year, and he was already scheduling patients the day he retired,” Vinyard said. “If he’s not very good at one thing, that’s retiring.”

Gross made a dramatic first impression as a member of the interview panel when Vinyard applied to lead Asante nearly two decades ago.

“He was very friendly toward me, which wasn’t always the case between administrators and physicians,” Vinyard said. “He wanted to make sure I had the same concern and passion for high-quality patient care as he did.”

The cardiologist’s impact on the Rogue Valley goes far beyond the bounds of health care, Chamber President and CEO Brad Hicks said.

“It’s easy to think of Dr. Gross as a world-class cardiologist when you think of the medical procedures he’s advanced,” Hicks said. “More importantly, he’s one of the individuals who has built our modern medical economy in the valley. When he recruits fellow physicians, who have staff, to the Rogue Valley, that’s like adding another small economy. In that regard, he’s quite an economic development machine himself.”

Gross led a collaboration that enlisted multiple hospitals and emergency response teams in Southern Oregon and Northern California known as ASSET — Acute ST Segment Elevation Task Force. The first-in-the-nation effort sent ambulances to Rogue Regional’s cardiac catheterization lab, rather than the emergency department.

Gross is credited with establishing a system that has helped reduce death rates for heart attacks in a nine-county region somewhere between half and three-quarters the national rate. He also set up an alert system that went live last year notifying people with CPR training within a certain radius that someone was showing signs of cardiac arrest.

“That allows them to start CPR before the first-responders,” Vinyard said.

Such efforts led to Gross receiving the 2012 Carpenter Award, recognizing community leaders who have had a positive and significant influence in improving medical care in Jackson County.

Gross earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and his medical doctorate from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York. He served his internship and residency at Dartmouth Medical Center, earning both intern of the year and resident of the year honors. He held a fellowship and assistant professorship at the University of Washington. While in Seattle, he met his wife, Nancy.

“If you think about the importance of health care to the Rogue Valley economy, and Dr. Gross’s role in that over the course of his career, along with all the people he’s recruited here, his impact has been in the hundreds of millions over the course of his career,” Hicks said. “He’s left quite a legacy in the industry, and it continues to grow in his retirement.”

Award winners

FIRST CITIZEN: Brian Gross

RETAILER OF THE YEAR: Walmart, North and South Medford

MEMBER OF THE YEAR: David Wright, president of CPM Real Estate Services

NEW MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Bobbio’s Pizza, Rick and Joy Deates

OUTSTANDING CORPORATE CITIZEN: For-profit — S & B James Construction Management, Allen Purdy, president. Nonprofit — Maslow Project, Mary Ferrell, founder and executive director of Maslow Project

BUSINESS EXCELLENCE: Small firm — KDP Certified Public Accountants, Mark Damon, managing partner; Medium firm — Precision Electric, Travis Snyder, owner and general manager; Large firm — People’s Bank of Commerce, Ken Trautman, president and CEO

COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD: Darcy Mann-Self, president, Pear Blossom Festival

RISING STAR AWARD: Damien Rennie, financial advisor/planner, SkyOak Financial

GOLDEN PEAR GALA: Support Staff — Claudia Miller, student services; Elementary Teacher, Dino Rossi, Lone Pine Elementary; Middle School Teacher, Mark Happeny, McLoughlin Middle School; High School Teacher, Tisha Richmond, South Medford High School

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.


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