After 20 years of service to Gundersen Medical Foundation, A. Erik Gundersen, MD, vice chairman of the Foundation, retired on Oct. 13.
Better known as Dr. Erik, he supported the Foundation through wide-ranging efforts to, in his words, "move medicine forward."
"Dr. Erik was a pillar in the foundation for nearly two decades," said Stephen Shapiro, MD, FACS, chief medical officer and chairman of the Foundation. "He welcomed new providers to Gundersen, met with patients in the hospital and was lead in a number of our greatest philanthropic events. Dr. Erik knew the history of Gundersen, while his knowledge of the La Crosse community is without equal. Warm-hearted with his role in stewardship of our Foundation community, he always kept service to the community and patient care forefront in his leadership."
Dr. Erik prides himself on his genuine approach to "friend-raising," emphasizing that donations were never his motivation.
"I didn't look at my job as 'fundraising,'" Dr. Erik explains. "I don't like that label very much. It was more in the line of 'friend-raising.' I joined to make friends for the Foundation to say what we do, and how it helps the whole community."
Dr. Erik's established his people-first mentality during his 36-year career as a Gundersen surgeon.
"Dr. Erik has been an icon at the Foundation for two decades following a distinguished medical career," shares Scott Rathgaber, MD, chief executive officer of Gundersen Health System. "Despite this stature, he was always friendly, hospitable and approachable from my first days at Gundersen as a new physician. He made me feel welcome and an integral part of Gundersen Health System. I know he had the same effect on many others during his decades of service. He was a model of care and compassion. His legacy will live on for generations. We are fortunate for his dedication and commitment to the care of our patients and community."
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