Friday, November 28, 2008
Doctor 'Devoted to Making a Difference'
By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer
Many written tributes to Dr. Roger Gollub bear a common theme: “a great doctor, he always treated his patients with the utmost respect,” “a good man, good doctor” and “a man devoted to making a difference to the very end.”
“He went out of his way,” said Anna Gollub, the doctor's oldest daughter. “He did way more than most doctors do for his patients. Frequently, we'd get calls in the middle of the night, and he'd give his patients his cell phone number, and he'd be up worrying about them. And if anybody had a question, he'd find an answer for you.”
Dr. Roger Gollub, a pediatrician who worked for the U.S. Public Health Service for nearly 25 years including in Gallup and Albuquerque with the Indian Health Service, died Nov. 19 near Kotzebue, Alaska. He was 53.
Gollub, an Anchorage resident, was killed when a dog sled he was handling was struck by a snow machine. It's believed that the driver of the snow machine had been drinking before running into Gollub's sled, according to reports in the Anchorage Daily News. The collision also injured a passenger of Gollub's.
Gollub in September retired from the U.S. Public Health Service, ending a more than 24-year career in which “he devoted himself to working with American Indians and Alaskan Natives in their communities,” reads a health service announcement.
Gollub began his career as a staff pediatrician at the Gallup Indian Medical Center in 1984 and served there until 1988. He was then a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service Program for the Centers for Disease Control in Denver until 1990. Next, he served as epidemiologist for the Albuquerque area Indian Health Service from 1990 to 2001. Gollub was staff pediatrician at the Alaska Native Medical center from 2001 to 2008.
“At the Alaskan Native Medical Center, Dr. Gollub was the primary pediatrician for approximately 1,600 children in metropolitan Anchorage. His panel of patients had a significant proportion of children with special health care needs,” reads biographical information about Gollub. His bio can be found at www.drrogergollubcommunity.org.
Gollub traveled twice yearly to the Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, Alaska, to provide pediatric speciality care, and children from the region were routinely referred to him for care. Gollub also served as the pediatrician liaison to the Southcentral Foundation Head Start Programs.
After retiring from the public health service, Gollub stayed on with the Southcentral Foundation, an Alaskan Native nonprofit health corporation, according to a story in the Anchorage Daily News.
“He was very, very passionate about doing community outreach,” Anna Gollub said. “He was working on a community based participatory research project . He was developing a project to study head start programs in Alaska.”
In New Mexico, like Alaska, Gollub saw patients all around the state, said Rich Bando, the doctor's neighbor in Albuquerque and a longtime friend.
“He was just an excellent, excellent doctor,” Bando said. “If a patient needed anything, he was available that kind of guy.”
After the Anchorage Daily News wrote about Gollub's death, these remarks were posted by some readers:
He joked with the children like showing them his salmon on a leash and had a stash of Otter Pops for the kids.
“He was the kind of guy who could give a shot that didn't hurt,” Anna Gollub said.
A celebration of life service will take place next week in Anchorage.
Gollub's survivors include his wife, Diane Abrahams-Gollub; daughters, Anna and Sarah; mother, Sheila Gollub; and brother, David.
A memorial fund has been established in Dr. Gollub's name to benefit head start programs for Alaskan children.
Contributions can be sent to: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 196613 Anchorage, AK, 99508.
The account number is 1429780. The routing number is 325272021.