Dr. Johnson is pictured here at the reception for his Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Ronald Johnson has cared for the residents of Pike County, Illinois, since 1980 when he opened a clinic in Pleasant Hill, Illinois. He retires this week after a full career serving others.

From the beginning, his care has defined by his commitment to rural healthcare, influenced by his roots as a hardworking farm kid growing up in Hillsboro, Illinois. Growing up on a farm, Dr. Johnson’s life took a turn at a young age when his father suffered a life-altering leg injury. He and his family had to take over duties on the farm.

“I grew up on the farm. I was actually born in a small town and I’m the second of four,” he shared. “The week that President Kennedy was assassinated, my dad injured his leg and was never able to farm again.

So after that, my mom did all the paperwork and for about two years, maybe a little more than two years, we farmed about 350 acres in addition to going to school.”

Reflecting on his early experiences, Dr. Johnson emphasizes the profound impact of farming on his life. Although he had aspirations of being a farmer, he set his sights on medicine after a drive around town with his mom.

“I’m the crazy little kid who, when I was probably six, was standing up in the backseat, before seatbelt laws obviously,” he shared. “We drove by a doctor’s office and I read the doctor’s office sign. I asked my mom, who was driving, what ‘physician and surgeon’ meant and she told me. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’”

That’s the path he set on and he vividly recalls the early days of his career, setting up the Pleasant Hill office, working through the night. Since then, Dr. Johnson has strived to provide the highest quality of care to the community.

“It was my intention to provide the best medical care here in the countryside to the most deserving, hardworking people I had ever met,” he said.

For Dr. Johnson, healthcare has never been a solo endeavor. He recognizes the collective effort required to ensure the well-being of patients and their families.

“I’ve always referred to ‘we’ as the healthcare team that I’ve worked with because it is all of us. We all work together to get things done and take care of our patients,” he said.

Dr. Johnson said the QMG team strives to always put patients first, a commitment that has been a cornerstone of his practice. A framed Hippocratic Oath above his desk serves as a constant reminder of this enduring principle.

“The relationship between the patient and the doctor is the living definition of trust, where the patient always comes first,” he said.

As he looks ahead to retirement, he leaves these words of gratitude with his patients, “I cannot fully express my gratitude to you for the faith and trust you have placed in me. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve you. You have my genuine thanks.”

Thank you, Dr. Johnson. Congratulations on your retirement!