DOCTORS OF INTEREST
Treasure Coast Medical Report
Whether she’s working as a nephrologist or as
associate chief of staff for Cleveland Clinic Martin
Health, Dr. Jean Vickers focuses on making patient
care her No. 1 priority. Being a physician is a calling, she says,
that she discovered later in life. It is a career where she wants
to make an impact by improving the quality of patients’ lives.
“The difference is made with one physician and one patient,”
she says. “You can make a lot of policy changes, big
global decisions, but the difference is made in the exam room.
There is a trust that develops when you have a relationship
that I’m honored to be a part of. That’s why, regardless of
what I do from an administrative perspective, at the end of
the day, I have to go back into the exam room. My leading
administrator refers to that as my happy place.”
Born in Jackson Center, Ohio, Vickers grew up on a farm
in a small, one-traffic-light town. The youngest of four, she
remembers her family going on house calls with her father,
Glen Aukerman, who was a primary care doctor.
“It was the early days of pagers and cell phones, and so
one of us had to stay in the house at all times to answer the
phone for patients,” she recalls. “Patients would even show
up at our door. I did not want to become a physician, period.
I wasn’t interested in it — it was something that had impacted
our family life.”
While attending the Columbus School of Girls, she discovered
she had a knack for math and science. Being dead set
against pursuing medicine, her science teachers advised her
to give engineering a try.
“I had no idea what engineering entailed, until I got all the
way through,” she says as she reflects on those days. “I loved
the problem-solving part of it. To me, it’s a great base for
medical training because it teaches you how to think about
a plan and doesn’t focus so much on the details, but the process.
I think it served me really well.”
Vickers earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering
from Washington University in St. Louis and then went on to
graduate school at Ohio State University to study biomedical
Dr. Jean Vickers, a nephrologist and associate chief of staff at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, leads the hospital’s clinical staff.
BY DONNA CRARY