Steamboat’s Dr. Mark McCaulley honored for 30-year career in internal medicine
August 23, 2012
Steamboat Springs — In October, Dr. Mark McCaulley will be celebrating his 60th birthday and his 30th anniversary practicing medicine in the Yampa Valley.
In the past three decades, McCaulley has seen the construction of a new local hospital facility and has ridden the waves of ever-developing advances in medicine, but he still approaches medicine with the same invigorated energy as he did in 1982.
"To do things as well as you can do them, you don't coast," he said. "You push hard. I don't want the edge of knowledge to be beyond me; I want to be at it. I want to create it, if I can."
McCaulley, a doctor of internal medicine, will be honored for his ability to take on medical challenges with an energetic and positive demeanor in Friday's Doc Willett Health Care Heritage Awards.
The awards are a four-year-old program of the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley, which raises funds for the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Doc Willett Awards are offered in the name of one of Steamboat's pioneering doctors to those in the health care field who represent the same authenticity that Dr. Frederick E. Willett brought to local health care for 56 years.
At Friday's awards ceremony, McCaulley will be honored as the Health Care Professional of the Year alongside Health Care Community Advocate of the Year Sue Birch.
"I was surprised but very gratified," McCaulley said about the honor.
At 6-foot-5, McCaulley's commanding stature isn't easily missed in the corridors of Yampa Valley Medical Center or the attached medical office building. He greets co-workers in the hallways with an easygoing smile and aims to visit and talk with all of his patients before their procedures.
Small-town medicine, though not an easy road, is exactly what he hoped for when he entered medical school.
"I knew I wanted to practice in a small community," he said. "I like small-town life, and I like ski-town life."
Although he didn't grow up skiing, he said his wife, Marilyn, whom he met in college at the University of Illinois, taught him how to ski on the tiny hills of the Midwest.
After his residency in Denver, McCaulley purchased Dr. Lambert Orton's Mountain Medical Associates, which today goes by Yampa Valley Medical Associates.
Dr. Kevin Borgerding, the chief of staff at Yampa Valley Medical Center, said McCaulley has been a versatile and eager member of the local health care community.
"Back when he first got here, he was doing a little bit of everything," Borgerding recalled. "Like covering the ER.
"He's been a pillar of the medical community for 30 years. He's got a lot of energy, a good positive attitude. I think he's well-received and well-liked by his patients."
Today, McCaulley spends about three-quarters of his time performing endoscopies and colonoscopies. It's a procedure he never tires of, he said.
"It's fascinating work," he said. "About half of the people I scope, you take out a polyp. We're doing some serious preventative medicine. Each step we take prevents a cancer."
It may seem like McCaulley always is working, but his interests outside medicine are as diverse as the range of activities available in and around the Yampa Valley.
He and Marilyn raised two boys in Steamboat, both of whom are living on the Front Range.
McCaulley also is an avid runner and competed in the Pikes Peak half-marathon again this year. Each morning before arriving at the hospital, he reads medical journals as he thumps away on his treadmill.
He's curious, not only about medicine, but also about wide-ranging topics including astronomy and the art of photography.
"It's been an incredibly stimulating time," he said about his career in the Yampa Valley. "I love the community, and I've gotten to know so many people."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com