Special to the Grove Sun
Dr. Samuel “Sam” J. Ratermann grew up south of Dayton, Ohio, and moved to Oklahoma at 15 when his dad’s job transferred to Tulsa. He began dating his future wife, Shannon, during their senior year at Bixby High, and graduated—one of ten valedictorians—in 1999. Shannon had been one of the first people he’d met there, and they gave their valedictorian speech together—reciting a poem by Dr. Seuss.
Ratermann completed undergraduate work at Oklahoma State University, where he studied mechanical engineering, and was accepted into medical school. “With a passion for science, initially wanting to design and build things, I realized that I would miss all of the human interaction,” says Ratermann. “I was excited to start medical school, as it was always my primary goal.”
While earning his bachelor degree in Biomedical Science, summa cum laude, at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Ratermann held down several jobs: resident assistant, research assistant, Kaplan MCAT instructor, and house framer—there’s that mechanical engineering! He squeezed in research on lithotripsy (a tool that uses sound waves to break kidney stones) for ten weeks in Boston.
And during medical school at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City, he earned the Podalirian Award for Advocacy on the part of patients and the field of medicine in general, was President of the Family and Community Medicine Interest Group, and served as a student board member to the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians.
Ratermann’s residency was with the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program in Wichita, Kan., which is one of only a few programs in the nation that still provides comprehensive, full-spectrum family medicine training including surgical obstetrics, endoscopy (i.e. colonoscopy), intensive care, pediatric, and inpatient medicine. Early in medical school, Ratermann had spent a month with family medicine doctors in the small north-central Oklahoma community of Okeene, where he observed doctors who’d taken care of some patients for years and knew their medical histories from memory.
“Often these physicians took care of multiple generations of the same family,” explains Ratermann. “I decided then and there to become a full-spectrum family medicine doctor.”
Grove met the Ratermann’s criteria: a Braum’s—Shannon’s favorite—with milkshakes available after 8 p.m.; and proximity to their families in Bixby and Muskogee. And as they look forward to starting a family in the future, a good school system with a supportive town behind it was a huge draw. The doctor loves the outdoors: walking through the woods, archery, camping, and jogging; and has recently taken up photography. The couple enjoys football games, seeing movies, playing board games, and they are novice kayakers.
Dr. Ratermann considers finding Grove and Dr. Tidwell, with whom he’ll practice, a blessing.
“Dr. Tidwell trained at a similar residency program as I did, and we have similar skill-sets and goals,” says Ratermann. “And who wouldn’t want to work at a state-of-the-art facility in a beautiful town?”
He has enjoyed meeting the other physicians, and is particularly impressed with Integris Grove Hospital’s Townsend Women’s and Children’s Center.
Developing relationships with patients and their families is a primary focus for Ratermann. He is committed to treating all patients as he and his family would want to be treated, and believes that prevention and early detection are keys to promoting a long, healthy, happy life. He asserts that diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer leave scars on our health that catch up with us later in life and keep us from being able to fully enjoy the golden years.
“We can’t change our age, gender, or genetics,” says Ratermann, “but we do have control over many diseases—most preventable or treatable—with early detection.”
And this is right on target with his stated mission: To provide exceptional preventative, acute, and chronic medical care to patients and their families, young and old.
Dr. Ratermann, located at 2485 N. Main St. in nearby Jay, OK, can be reached at (918) 253-2550.