After more than 30 years of service in Forsyth County, Dr. Michael Hogan is “finally taking my retirement.”
“A lot of people were skeptical that it would happen,” Hogan said. “But I think it’s finally time for me to retire. It’s been great fun.”
Hogan, an orthopedic surgeon and owner of Hogan Healthcare Center P.C., has helped around 50,000 patients in the county, seeing children and even grandchildren of some patients.
Hogan began his professional journey at the age of 15 in Britain, apprenticing at a glass factory and working in engineering. A few years later, Hogan moved to Canada “just for the fun of it” and took a job at Hallmark Cards.
“I worked my way up through corporate [at Hallmark Cards], but then when I was at the top, I just asked myself, ‘Is this it?’” he said.
Hogan decided he wanted to get a degree in biology “just for fun again” and then applied to medical school for family practice. However, he said that family practice “didn’t quite ring my bells,” so he switched to plastic surgery and helping burn patients.
“But then [a plastic surgeon] was difficult because you’d get people coming in wanting … something done to their nose and you think, ‘There’s nothing wrong with your nose,’” Hogan said. “And [dealing with] burn [victims] was very difficult because it’s mostly children. That could be hard to see.”
Hogan ultimately chose orthopedics, treating musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, spine diseases with both surgical and nonsurgical treatments.
“Everything you do in medicine is an accomplishment,” Hogan said. “You can’t say one thing is better than another because fixing a person’s hand is just as important to them as replacing another person’s knee is to them. The accomplishment is just being in medicine and helping the community.”
While he’s served the Forsyth and city of Cumming communities, Hogan has also traveled overseas to help natural disaster relief efforts.
In 2010, Hogan traveled to Haiti with Conscience International, a charitable organization out of Gainesville, to help save peoples’ lives and limbs after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake ravaged the island.
During his time as an orthopedic surgeon, he also traveled to Turkey, Pakistan and Iran to help people after earthquakes.
While he’s proud of the work he has accomplished medically, he said one of his biggest personal accomplishments is his family.
“My biggest accomplishment [in life] is my four kids,” Hogan said. “I’ve been able to keep most of it together and we’re all close. It’s like thick mud when we come into a room; we kind of take up all the oxygen.”
Hogan said he’s glad that he’s been able to raise “four great kids, eight grandkids and nine grand-dogs,” and that they all live close to home.
“It was difficult being away from [my kids], especially in medical school,” Hogan said. “Medicine is a very jealous mistress, and it takes time away from other things. But I’m glad that [my family is] together and that we’re all very close.”
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Hogan said he has also been proud to serve the community through LEADER, a driving program he initiated that works to “reduce the incidence of children being killed on our roads directly related to inadequate driver training.”
The program partners with Forsyth County Schools to provide an integrated program of classroom training and interactive simulation training with computer-generated driving courses. Many high school students have been able to take the course as an elective at school before applying for a permit.
“I’m convinced that we’ve saved some lives,” Hogan said. “We’ve raised millions of dollars to keep that program and as long as it’s going, I’ll fight till the end.”
Hogan said that he plans to continue his work with the program in retirement.
“The hardest thing I’ve had to do in medicine was tell a parent, ‘I’m sorry, but we couldn’t save your daughter,’” Hogan said. “And because of a car crash that could have been prevented with proper education.”
“It all comes back to caring for the community,” he said. “Kids, people, just caring for them — that’s what my life has been all about.”
Valeree Bryant, a member of Hogan’s staff, said that her experience working with him has been “magnificent.”
“If I had one word to describe my experience with Dr. Hogan, it would be magnificent,” Bryant said. “It has been absolutely the most incredible job. It’s just a joy to go to work every day.”
“He has taught me so much, he has helped me to grow, he’s the kindest man,” she said. “He’s just an amazing person.”
Hogan Healthcare P.C. will also be closing when he retires.
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Bryant said she is going to miss working with Hogan every day and the patients, but said she’ll never forget some of the lessons he has imparted on her through the years.
“One of the things he taught me was that if you listen to your patients, you will know what’s wrong with them,” Bryant said. “Every patient is different and … you just can’t treat them all the same. You have to listen.”
“It’s been the most fabulous place to work, and [Hogan has] been such a good mentor to me,” Bryant said. “He’s been such a good friend. He just treats everyone like family. I’ll miss him.”
Looking back, Hogan said that the journey has been the most memorable thing.
“It’s really not about the destination, it’s all about the journey,” Hogan said. “You have to enjoy the journey and do what you’re passionate about.”
Hogan’s journey is far from over, as plans to work with a television station he owns in Wyoming and in December he’s taking his grandson on a safari in Africa.
“I’m thankful to have served the community for so long,” Hogan said. “Really, it’s been great fun.”
To find out more about LEADER, visit www.leaderga.com/about-leader.html.