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Celebrating National Doctor’s Day One Year into the Pandemic

Day of recognition is especially meaningful during COVID-19

CENTRAL COAST, CA – March 29, 2021 – Each year on March 30, National Doctor’s Day honors health care professionals for their dedication and contributions to patients and our society. There has never been a more appropriate time to show appreciation for the physicians serving at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), than now. 

After more than a year of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, their heroic actions have gone above and beyond to care for our community. Here, physicians from each Dignity Health hospital that worked first hand with COVID-19 patients share what makes this Doctor’s Day especially meaningful:

"As we approach Doctor’s Day for the second time during a pandemic, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of my physician peers who over the past year have demonstrated on a daily basis their resilience, expertise, and dedication to providing the highest quality medical care to our community, regardless of the challenges presented by the pandemic,” says Trees Ritter, DO, Infection Prevention Specialist, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.

“This Doctor’s Day, more than any other, I am proud to work along the outstanding physicians and health care professionals that have endured the COVID-19 pandemic this past year,” says Loren Michel, MD, Pulmonologist, French Hospital Medical Center. “I am proud to have protected the community and worked firsthand with COVID-19 patients to help heal them.”

“I have never been so proud to work in medicine,” says Alicia Mikolaycik Gonzales, MD, Emergency Room Physician and Medical Director, Marian Regional Medical Center. “What it looks like to be a doctor is not the same today as it was even 20 years ago – but what it means is the same. Doctors devote their lives to serving, caring for, and healing their communities. I’m so lucky and really proud to be among them.” 

Throughout the past year, as we faced the biggest health care crisis of our time, these doctors stood strong in the face of uncertainty to care for our patients and community. 

The first National Doctor’s Day was established on March 30, 1824 after Crawford W. Long, M.D. performed the first ether anesthetic for surgery to remove a tumor from a man’s neck. Following surgery, the man claimed he felt nothing during the surgery and was not aware of anything until he awoke, an operation that served as an incredible milestone for the future of medicine.

On National Doctors’ Day, we honor all physicians for their commitment to care and unwavering dedication to patients. 

Photos: Left-Dr. Ritter; Middle-Dr. Kurtz; Right-Dr. Michel

[Photos: Left-Dr. Ritter; Middle-Dr. Kurtz; Right-Dr. Michel]


Dignity Health Central Coast
Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. For more information, visit

Publish date: 

Monday, March 29, 2021