In the 18 years since Dr. Sharon Grundy has led the Telluride Regional Medical Center’s primary care department, she’s overseen numerous improvements, dealt with health challenges of her own and has, due a global pandemic, taken on an added role as public health officer for San Miguel County. And while she’ll still be a fixture at the med center, she’ll be doing just a bit less. In a recent news release, Grundy announced she’ll be passing the torch of director of the primary care department to her med center colleague, Dr. Christine Mahoney to turn her focus back to her own health, her family and to her panel of primary care patients.
Throughout her 20 years at the clinic, Dr. Grundy has earned the trust and respect of the community.
“She’s essentially the face of primary care here,” said Dr. Diana Koelliker, director of emergency care. “I know for many people, when they think of our clinic, it’s very much Dr. Grundy they are thinking of.”
Grundy was 31 and just starting off her medical career when she was hired, fresh out of her residency at Louisiana State University, by Dr. Jane Reldan, to work both emergency and primary care shifts.
Ever the ambitious doctor, she was also serving as the acting medical director at the Basin Clinic in Naturita.
“I was determined to be in Colorado, but specifically Telluride,” Grundy said.
One year into her new job at the Telluride Medical Center, Dr. Reldan’s husband, John McCarron, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma.
“She was needed by her family and I was asked to assume the role as the medical director,” Grundy said.
Soon after, Grundy met Tor Anderson, “exactly the kind of adventurous and interesting guy I had in mind when I dreamt up moving to Colorado.” The couple married and in 2009 had their son Wilder.
Dr. Grundy estimates she’s seen thousands of patients over the years. In fact her practice has been booked solid for years.
“My number one priority has always been to serve this community with preventive, holistic and thoughtful primary care and resources,” she said. “Not just when people are sick, but when they’re healthy. “
Paula Scheidegger, RN, BSN has worked under Grundy for 13 years. She recalled the primary care department she joined was made up of four providers and two medical assistants.
“Today we are a fully integrated primary care medical home with a behavioral health team, care managers, nurses and also a moderate complexity lab,” Scheidegger said. “Sharon changed the culture of work and taught us all to support each other, to work in teams, to be better people. She gave us a better future.”
The practice has grown exponentially during her reign.
“She worked so many extra hours, created so many links within the community, and has fought tirelessly for staff, patients and for a new facility,” said Scheidegger.
In August 2019, Dr. Grundy was sidelined temporarily with the news of an abnormal mammogram.
“I received the diagnosis of early stage breast cancer and underwent surgery that was curative in September of 2019,” she said.
Scheidegger said throughout her fight with cancer, while working from home, she never stopped looking out for her team and the medical center’s patients. “She’s defined by her bravery, courage and vulnerability. She’s taught me so much.”
Dr. Grundy returned to the clinic and her patients in short order, but knew in her heart it was time to slow down and to make more time for family, friends and for self care. Those plans got 2020’d.
Grundy’s role instead expanded to not just head of the medical center’s pandemic response— which included constructing entirely new protocols and an outdoor respiratory clinic — but also as the public health officer for San Miguel County.
“It was not only admirable, but really incredible how she managed to juggle all that was going on in her life and our collective lives in the past year. It’s really amazing how strong one woman can be,” Koelliker said.
“She’s guided not only our staff and patients, but the whole community through this global pandemic,” added Scheidegger.
Dr. Grundy has not had to go it alone. Dr. Koelliker, her counterpart in emergency care, has worked alongside her throughout the pandemic and Dr. Christine Mahoney stepped up as Acting Primary Care Director to shoulder the myriad responsibilities that have come with meeting the demands of the novel coronavirus.
“This year has been fast and furious, but throughout it I’ve been able to count on our whole team,” Grundy said. “I already knew Dr. Mahoney would be my eventual predecessor, but what I’ve seen over the last six months absolutely affirms she is the right person to head the department and she’s ready now.”
Mahoney joined the medical staff in 2016. A doctor of osteopathy, she specializes in family medicine and what she calls “birth to earth,” medicine with particular skills and passion for pediatric care, women’s health and osteopathic manipulation.
“She’s a natural leader,” Grundy said. “She shows up for everyone on our team with strength and compassion. It’s in difficult times that true leaders emerge. I have full confidence she will take our medical center to the next level of excellence.”
Dr. Grundy will continue to see patients at the Telluride Regional Medical Center.