In Community, Retirement

Beacon Hill Independent Living Resident Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Beacon Hill at Eastgate is fortunate to have residents in our community who come from many different backgrounds… and we take great joy in hearing more about their legacies. Recently, Beacon Hill Independent Living resident, Raymond Fuller, MD, was honored with the Emeritus Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine by the Spectrum Health Distinguished Physician Society. After learning about this achievement, Beacon Hill staff sat down with Dr. Fuller to learn more about this award and his career as a cardiologist.

Lifetime Achievement AwardAccording to Spectrum Health, the Emeritus Lifetime Achievement Award was “created to recognize members of the Distinguished Physician Society who, throughout their lifetime, have been an inspiration to others in the medical community and attained national prominence in their specialty area.”

When asked about the significance of this award and his reaction to receiving this distinguished honor, Dr. Fuller humbly stated that he was surprised to receive the award. “First of all, you’re picked for the [Distinguished Physician] Society and the Society has one member a year that they pick for the lifetime award.” Dr. Fuller was inducted into the Distinguished Physician Society in 2010.

Despite his surprise, there is no doubt that Dr. Fuller is a deserving recipient of the award. When Dr. Fuller first joined the medical community in Grand Rapids in September 1960, coming from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, it was very different from the world-class healthcare community that exists here today. Dr. Fuller was the third cardiologist in town and first joined an office of internists because there was no cardiologist office to join. 

In the 50’s, there were no pacemakers, defibrillators, echo-cardiograms, MRIs or CAT scans; and the ability to monitor and treat patients who came in with heart issues was minimal. In the 50’s and early 60’s, coronary angiography procedures were not performed, nor were subsequent bypass surgeries of the diseased arteries. However, in the 60’s and 70’s, the methods studying and treating the heart “exploded” and Dr. Fuller played a large role in bringing these new techniques to Grand Rapids.

“I think the reason that I got the award was I kept starting new things at Blodgett Hospital… I took 30-some courses and seminars to learn all the new techniques and procedures so I could bring them back and start doing them at Blodgett.”

In addition to bringing new medical techniques to Grand Rapids, Dr. Fuller’s work during 25 medical mission trips throughout his career impacted hospitals and communities across the world. Dr. Fuller, always accompanied by his wife Lillian, traveled to Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, The Dominican Republic and Mexico, consulting and teaching at the hospitals he visited.

Dr. Fuller has served as a consultant to hospitals in Cadillac, Manistee, Ludington, Reed City, Greenville and Hastings, in addition to local hospitals that include Blodgett, Butterworth and St. Mary’s.

The Beacon Hill at Eastgate community would like to congratulate Dr. Fuller on this achievement, and thank him for his 43 years of service in helping to bring better heart care to Grand Rapids.

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