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.

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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.

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.

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