The Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) 2021 Total Healing Environment Physician of the Year, Ronael Eckman, MD, is challenging the old saying that no one is a hero in their own country, or in this case, their community.

“I’m a third-generation native of Yavapai County and a fourth-generation resident,” says Dr. Eckman, who grew up in the Verde Valley. “It was important to me to serve my community and the county by coming home to practice medicine.”

Dr. Eckman graduated in 2007 from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. She then undertook a three-year pediatric residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. By the fall of 2010, Dr. Eckman was back in Yavapai County caring for newborns and young children at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group (YRMG), Ponderosa Pediatrics in Prescott.

Combining Medicine and Technology
But, Dr. Eckman didn’t stop there. She became interested in how information systems and clinical data can be used to improve patient care and inform healthcare decisions. This inspired her to pursue certification in Clinical Informatics from the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

Soon, Dr. Eckman was serving her community in a dual role: As YRMC’s Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) and as a pediatrician. Her knowledge and experience as YRMC’s CMIO have been particularly valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dr. Eckman has been at the center of every innovative response developed to care for the people of our community during the pandemic,” says John Amos, President and CEO, Dignity Health, YRMC. “Her colleagues witnessed her tireless efforts to protect the health of our community this past year. They’re acknowledging that extraordinary work with the 2021 Physician of the Year recognition.”

Some of Dr. Eckman’s recent achievements include coordinating, launching and managing:

  • A monoclonal antibody therapy program for people with COVID-19.
  • Telehealth virtual visits for all YRMG clinics.
  • Remote monitoring of eligible COVID-19 patients.
  • A community COVID-19 vaccination site.

Friends & Family
“There are many people – administrators, employees, physicians, and even my own family members – who have, in different ways, worked hard to ensure the success of these initiatives,” Dr. Eckman says. “The collaboration on these projects has been intense. They’ve stretched all of us. I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped make these important initiatives a reality for our community.”

YRMC’s Total Healing Environment Physician of the Year is selected annually by YRMC employees and medical staff and presented to a physician who:

  • Provides excellent patient care.
  • Demonstrates sensitivity to patients’ needs and desires.
  • Fosters positive relationships with employees and volunteers.
  • Shows respect to all and is a team player.
  • Takes pride in YRMC and the community.