Dr. Poncher Named Pacific Northwest University’s Teacher of the Year
Annually, the students of Pacific Northwest University are asked to nominate a physician who had the most impact on them during their rotations. This year, Dr. Poncher, Pediatrician at our Maple St. Clinic, was chosen as the recipient of the much-deserved title!
Dr. Poncher has been teaching and practicing medicine for over 40 years and loves it every bit as much today as he did the first day he started. “I love teaching. If you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t be doing it. I probably receive awards such as this, not because I am that much better of a teacher than other physicians, but because the students can see how much I enjoy teaching, and how much I appreciate the privilege of having them with me!”
4th year medical student, Ashley Meganck, has found Dr. Poncher’s approach to be refreshing. “Dr. Poncher has a mind for detail, a gentle manner with patients and a sense of humor that is never far from the surface. He is a natural teacher whether he is teaching patients and parents about healthy habits or teaching medical students or residents about the 3 most common causes of otitis media. He taught me that a strong basis in medical knowledge, good rapport with patients, and good wine and coffee are all one needs to be successful and fulfilled and most of all happy in my chosen profession; and for that I will be forever grateful!”
He was told early in his career by one of his students that he was too happy and that he needed to act like he had an ulcer when seeing patients. “Look around you at all of these grumpy doctors,” she said. “They don’t want to see you happy. They will accept you more if you look grumpy like they do.” In spite of that advice, Dr. Poncher has remained his positive self and ulcer-free for 40 years.
Dr. Poncher knows that having a passion for teaching is what will help these future doctors be successful. “Going from books to patients is very different than going from patients to books. You can’t just read it – you have to see it and read it. Always remembering that, patients don’t usually read the text books.”
Dr. Poncher’s positive attitude changed the outlook of the medical profession for one of his students, Chad Douglas. After a rotation in family medicine, Chad had become disenchanted with family medicine and his outlook on practicing medicine became grim. That was until he met Dr. Poncher. “What I’ve gained from Dr. Poncher has stuck with me, and I believe, become a part of who I am. So now when I walk into a patient’s room, they don’t just see me, they see a little bit of Dr. Poncher as well. The care that each patient receives and the quality of life that they bear as a consequence is unquestionably a touch better thanks to Dr. Poncher.”
Dr. Poncher plans to continue to teach and practice medicine until he no longer is able. “I have the best of both worlds – children and students. I feel that the only thing better than practicing Pediatrics is providing care to the medically underserved, teaching medical students, and teaching residents, which I have done for the last 40+ years. Fortunately working for CHAS, I am able to do both. Add to that the ability to share it all with a very special wife makes me feel that I am truly blessed.”