New physician chooses small-town practice

Hillsboro Community Hospital physician Greg Erb grew up in Lawrence, played football for the KU Jayhawks and completed his medical training and residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City. Even so, Erb was attracted to a small-town practice and found Hillsboro to his liking.Greg Erb?s love of football and family goes a long way toward explaining the specialties of orthopedics and family medicine that comprise his practice.

Erb began seeing patients at Hillsboro Community Hospital Feb. 10, filling the hole created by the departure of physician Shauna Kern a few days earlier.

?I?ve always been very involved in sports,? Erb said. ?Having some sports injuries?muscular-skeletal issues?and seeing other people have them (influenced his career direction).

?Then, I like the continuity you get with family medicine,? he added. ?I kind of wanted to mix the two.?

KU connections

Erb was born in Florida, but his parents moved to Lawrence when he was about 2 years old to teach at Kansas University. His father was a professor in education and his mother taught English as a Second Language.

When he graduated from high school, Erb enrolled at KU and joined the football team, where he played from 1996 through the 1999 season. He began as a walk-on, but earned a full scholarship. He was a starting safety his senior season under coach Terry Allen.

?It was definitely very interesting,? he said of his Jayhawk career. ?I?m very happy I was able to have those experiences. We made great friends and got to go to a lot of pretty neat places.?

Looking back, Erb said he was fortunate: KU won about 40 percent of its games during his football career and he avoided serious injuries while playing.

?The worst (injury) was more from lifting weights than actually playing,? he said. ?When I got done playing, I had a low-back surgery to fix that. Besides that, I?ve been pretty lucky.?

Medical training

Erb completed his undergraduate degree from KU in December 1999, but took about a year and half to bond with his newborn son before going on to the Uni?ver?sity of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City.

After earning his doctoral degree there in 2005, he began his residency in orthopedics there, too.

?I kind of started in orthopedics, but it was difficult with family life,? Erb said. ?I wanted to have a bit broader scope, so I switched to family medicine. After I finished my residency, I stayed there a little over two years and kind of worked along with the orthopedic department.?

Small-town interest

While Erb was broadening his training, he was narrowing the type of places to establish a practice.

?I wanted to get into a smaller community and broaden my scope of practice,? he said.

Erb?s path to Hillsboro began when he was called by a physician recruiter.

?I was at the point where I was looking for a new opportunity,? he said. ?(The recruiter) told me about this opportunity, and it sounded like it would fit my interests perfectly?being a smaller community, having Tabor College here, then having the need for a physician to follow their sports team as well as providing for their students.?

Erb then met with Marion Regier, HCH chief executive officer, in the HMC/CAH Consolidated corporate offices in Kansas City.

?That meeting went very well, so I ended up scheduling a visit here,? Erb said. ?I was very impressed with the community and the hospital as a whole. At that point, I kind of felt like it was going to be a great match.?

That initial impression hasn?t changed.

?I think it?s gone excellent so far,? he said. ?The whole staff is coming together and working as a team. The community has been great. The people I?ve met have been outstanding.

?I feel there?s definitely the need here for somebody to help provide good care in the community,? Erb added. ?There?s a lot of people out here who definitely would benefit from it?and I think I can provide it for them.?

Beyond work

When Erb isn?t practicing medicine, his primary interests are family and pursing an active lifestyle.

?I like doing outdoor activities and sporting events,? he said. ?I really like working with kids and having family time as well. Beyond that, I enjoy watching movies and doing little projects around the house.?

Erb?s wife, Vikki Gram?bill, is a nurse anesthetist.

?Potentially, she?s talked about doing some work here,? he said. ?I don?t know that there?s the need for a nurse anesthetist full time here, but she definitely can do some things here?as far as epidural blocks and some of that. In one of the surrounding communities, there is a need for a full-time nurse anesthetist.?

The couple, who are raising three children, still have their primary residence in the Kansas City area.

?On the weekends I tend to commute there, and they commute up here,? Erb said. ?With school still going, we?re going to kind of work on that this summer and see what our best (housing) options are.?

Erb said he is looking forward to moving the HCH clinic back into the building near the hospital once the current remodeling project is completed.

?They?re making it much more accessible, especially for people in wheelchairs,? he said. ?They?re widening the hallways and the doors, and making the bathroom more accessible. It will be much more patient-friendly over there.?

He anticipates the move could happen this week or the next, depending on weather issues.

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