Always there for ‘Care’: Medical Society celebrates 75th


Members of the Indian River County Medical Society celebrated its milestone 75th anniversary with a dinner at the Oak Harbor Club that featured the installation of new officers, a proclamation recognizing the anniversary, and a history of the organization compiled by Dr. Michaela Scott, a retired oncologist, and Ann Marie McCrystal.

Jennifer Jones, who became executive director of IRCMS and the We Care Foundation following the retirement of Charles (Robi) Robinson, said they were assisted with the historical elements by a former patient of Dr. Scott, who is 102 years old.

McCrystal, wife of retired urologist Dr. Hugh McCrystal, was another font of historical information. Since moving to Vero Beach in 1966, the power couple has been hugely influential in shaping our medical community. Dr. McCrystal became chief of medical staff at then Indian River Memorial Hospital in 1970 and served in that position for roughly 25 years. Ann Marie McCrystal co-founded Vero’s VNA and Hospice, and each of them served on the county’s Hospital District and in various board capacities with other organizations.

The Medical Society, founded by eight physicians in 1947, is comprised today of some 150 members.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Scott, who recognized the numerous professionals, many of whom have since passed away or retired, who were responsible for establishing the medical care in our community.

Interestingly, it was Garnett Radin, a registered nurse, not a physician, who in 1932 established, owned and operated the county’s first hospital.

“The list was fascinating to hear. Some of those first names were people that I would never have known,” said Jones.

“I think the vision for the new board and the president is to create a membership that’s all inclusive, no matter who you work for or what type of medicine you practice,” said Jones.

“Because at the end of the day it’s about caring for people.”

The Medical Society, an association of medical professionals within the community, is aligned with the We Care Foundation, founded in 1991.

Physicians in the We Care program volunteer their services and time to provide specialty care to individuals who could not otherwise afford care. Jones explained that treatment is available to patients who are 18 and older, are uninsured and whose income is at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level.

“We receive our patients through referrals from primary care physicians or clinics in the community, such as Treasure Coast Community Health, Whole Family Health and the hospital,” said Jones. “We used to be part of the health department, but their business model changed and so we are now on our own.”

The We Care Foundation and IRC Medical Society offices are currently located within the Treasure Coast Community Health clinic at 787 37th St.

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Photos by Joshua Kodis

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