Local ENT’s dedication, innovation still evident after almost 50 years in practice
Ronald J. Darling, MD ’62, GME ’67 (right), spends a moment with Medical College President and CEO John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, at the 2011 Alumni Weekend banquet . Dr. Darling received the alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Reflection on the journey
“When I started out, I thought I was going to be retired by now, but I wouldn’t know what else to do, quite frankly. I have talked to some people who have retired early and they said, ‘Ron, don’t do it.’ I tend to take that all to heart, and I would be lost if I just closed doors at this point. My health is good enough to stay with it, and I still look forward to Mondays. I justify it by saying I have all week to look forward to the weekend this way, and then it is nice to have the weekend end so I can come back to work.”
– Ronald J. Darling, MD ’62, GME ’67
Nearing a half-century in medicine, Ronald J. Darling, MD ’62, GME ’67, doesn’t keep busy. He is busy. Although he performs much less surgery than in previous years, the longtime Waukesha-area ENT still practices full time while also exploring new techniques and technologies to improve patient care.
“Along the way, I have discovered some tools that have helped improve specialty care for ENT patients,” he said. “My interest has always been in helping my patients get better.”
Years ago, Dr. Darling was one of the first otolaryngologists to observe signs of gastroesophageal reflux in patients with sinus conditions, and to improve sinus problems by treating the reflux. He has conducted numerous collaborative studies with Medical College of Wisconsin investigators, and he remains involved in research by recruiting patients eligible for clinical trials conducted in the Medical College’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Early in his career, Dr. Darling worked with Professor and former Chairman Robert J. Toohill, MD ’60, to establish the Voice Clinic in what has evolved into the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College. Such strong ties in clinical care, research and teaching have been hallmarks of Dr. Darling’s career.
His dedication to the Medical College, and as an alumni ambassador, earned him the 2011 Distinguished Service Award from The Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette Medical Alumni Association.
“I was really surprised by this honor,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed by it. I just never expected anything like that.”
Dr. Darling was a member of the full-time faculty in 1967 after finishing his residency training at the VA Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Shortly thereafter, he began a private practice, now named the Moreland Ear, Nose & Throat Group. He remained involved as a part-time Medical College faculty member at first, and then continued as a volunteer Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, interacting with departmental faculty and residents.
“I hope that I have been able to contribute a little bit along the way, and it certainly has contributed to me as a physician,” he said. “I just never wanted to walk away from this school since I finished.”
This September, Dr. Darling will be speaking to second-year medical students about careers in otolaryngology in hopes of stirring interest in the field. These opportunities to interact with students and faculty are among the reasons he has enjoyed practicing in the Waukesha/Milwaukee area his entire career. Travel, he said, is for visiting his children in Seattle and Tampa.
His commitment to the school is also reflected in his participation and leadership with the Alumni Association. Dr. Darling served on the Alumni Association Board from 2003-2009, including a one-year term as President of the Association in 2006-2007. He has been active in the planning of his Class of 1962 reunions.
He has been a frequent participant in other key events of the Alumni Association, including the annual Clinical Conference, and he supports the group’s efforts to begin forming relationships with future alumni while they are still students.
“I think that it is a fantastic alumni group,” Dr. Darling said. “It is fun working with them.”
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