‘Sense of community’ draws new doctor to Ramona
By Karen Brainard
Dr. Charles Hardison has practiced medicine in many places, including a country of the former Soviet Union, but he is thoroughly happy to be the new doctor in Ramona.
“I’m very, very thankful to be here,” said Hardison, sitting in his office at Arch Health Partners and acknowledging that it is the former office of Dr. Michael Barker, a physician he holds in high esteem.
Barker retired in July 2009 after 31 years as a family doctor in Ramona. Hardison considers it a privilege to be following in the footsteps of Barker, a doctor known for his laid-back, personable style.
“He was very approachable,” said Hardison, who met Barker when he began working a couple of days a week at the Ramona office in the spring.
On Sept. 15 Hardison joined the Arch partnership in Ramona as a full-time provider. He said he liked the feel of the Ramona medical office — “the community spirit of this particular practice, (the) small group, and everyone knows each other.”
The soft-spoken Hardison said he enjoys practicing family medicine because of the variety of care and the span of patients’ ages. He then smiled and pointed to the copy of a tiny ink footprint of a 4-day-old baby he had recently seen.
Since August 2010, Hardison worked part-time at Arch Health Partners urgent care in the outpatient pavilion on the Pomerado Hospital campus in Poway. Hardison said that, when he told other doctors that he was moving to the Ramona office, they said that is where they would choose to work.
When asked why he was so happy to work in Ramona, Hardison responded, “To be honest it was the sense of community. It’s a totally different feel than downhill.”
Not long ago, Hardison and his family were living in Kyrgyzstan, a country of the former Soviet Union, where he was providing humanitarian aid. From 2003 to 2010, he lived there with his wife, Phyllis, and their two daughters. While there, Hardison said he and his wife were blessed to adopt two boys who are now 9 and 7 years old.
In addition to treating patients in Kyrgyzstan, Hardison was responsible for establishing academic programs, providing education and guidance to medical and dental professions and acting as a consultant for a pilot project finding common causes for childhood disabilities.
Fluent in the Russian language, Hardison also has some professional proficiency in Spanish and in sign language.
Hardison said his family moved back to the states, specifically the San Diego area, because he thought it would be a great place for his daughters to attend college. One is a freshman at Point Loma University, where Hardison earned his bachelor’s of arts degree with a major in biology. He earned a master’s of science in anatomy at Loma Linda University, where he attended medical school. His family practice residency was at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif.
Hardison, who lives in Lakeside, said he loves medicine and teaching. He also said he likes the individual care he will now be able to offer that will help him to understand patients when providing treatment. The family physician said he is amazed that patients travel the distance to Ramona from such rural areas as Ranchita and Warner Springs to see a doctor.
With Arch Healthcare planning to move its offices to the Palomar Pomerado Health clinic when it is built on 13th Street (see related story, page 1), Hardison said, “That’s exciting because we can build more access to care.”
Arch Health Partners is at 1236 Main St., 760-789-5160.
Hardison sees patients Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Tuesday afternoons.
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