Dr. Johnson accepts the 2023 Rural Physician Lifetime of Service Award by the Illinois Rural Health Association.

Quincy Medical Group (QMG) Family Physician Dr. Ronald Johnson has been awarded the 2023 Rural Physician Lifetime of Service Award by the Illinois Rural Health Association (IRHA). This is IRHA’s version of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” reserved for physicians who have devoted their entire careers to rural practice. The award recognizes physicians for not only improving the lives of their patients, but for also making a significant impact on their communities and paving the path for future practitioners.

Dr. Johnson has cared for the residents of Pike County, Illinois, since 1980 when he opened a clinic in Pleasant Hill, Illinois. His care is 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.

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.

“We’ve done a good job and we’ve listened to each other and really tried. I think everybody keeps the patient first. And that goes back to our motto in the office even before I joined Quincy Medical Group. We had pins that said, ‘First, take care of the patient.’ And that’s what our goal is,” he stated. Looking ahead, Dr. Johnson acknowledges that a medical practice evolves with time.

As he continues to serve the Pike County community, he does so with the same work ethic that guided him as a young man on the farm balancing the demands of education and agriculture. He looks forward to continuing his work of compassion and helping the community’s patients.

Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!