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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Charles Kaluza, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Monday, November 12, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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In the final years before the untimely closure of Eastmoreland Hospital a cadre of young osteopathically trained specialists joined the staff.  As a result the education of the students, interns and family practice residents was top notch and Eastmoreland Hospital became a much sought after training program.  One of the young specialists who played a very important part in that program was Charles Kaluza, DO.

Dr. Kaluza was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a father who was a tool and die maker and a mother who encouraged her children to further their education.  It was a large family of four girls and three boys and Charlie was in the middle.  He and his brothers spent their summers in Canada staying with an uncle who had a fishing resort on one of the many lakes in the region.  They all loved to fish, but with Charlie fishing was a passion that has continued throughout his busy career.  Ultimately, Charlie became so skilled as a fisherman that he often acted as a professional guide.  

At an early age Charlie began to read.  He would go to the library and the librarian would suggest books for him.  He read so much that he sometimes got in trouble in school for having a library book inside the text book.  When called upon to read aloud he was often caught not paying attention.  Spelling and handwriting were not his strengths.  By high school he continued to read but found the time to letter in football, wrestling, and track.  He also was district heavy weight wrestling champ.  During his junior year in high school he invited his wife to be Sheryle, to the homecoming dance.  Apparently it was love at first sight!  

After high school he attended St. John’s University.  The setting of the college amongst the lakes and forest of central Minnesota was part of the draw.  He continued to participate in football but a shoulder injury ended his wrestling.  To help with tuition he took a job at a veterinary clinic where he was tasked with assisting in surgeries by giving anesthesia.  One of the less pleasant jobs was euthanizing animals.  It was in this setting that he began to perform surgeries on animals that were to be destroyed.  He was so skilled that he got a second job as a teaching assistant at the biology classes at St. Johns.  Only after two years of college did Charlie recognize his strong attraction to medicine and began making sure that he took all the requisite premed courses.  Near graduation he began to search for a medical school to attend.  With his excellent GPA he was assured acceptance at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  He went for his interview and was so offended by the attitude of the interviewers at U of M that he decided to look further.  He spoke to a friend who suggested he consider a career as a DO.  He shadowed Dr. Goblish, an osteopathic GP practicing in nearby Little Falls He was so impressed that he applied to the KCOM.  There he had a much warmer reception and was accepted.  So in the fall of 1972 with new wife Sheryle in tow he moved to Kirksville, Mo.  

The young couple settled in Memphis, Missouri where Sheryle had found a position as a music teacher in the local schools.  Charlie commuted 40 miles back and forth to the school each day.  At the time the military had a scholarship program which paid tuition and some expenses in exchange for future service after completion of medical education   Charlie opted for the Navy program.

At Kirksville Charlie began to exhibit the leadership skills that would be so useful later in his career.  Annoyed with the selection process by which clinical rotations were selected after the second year Charlie had a software program produced whereby the computer would do the choosing.  To make sure it was used he ran for and was elected student body president in his third year.  Years later in practice he learned from a student who was rotating through his office that only recently had this computer system been abandoned and the old lottery system reinstated.

It was at Kirksville that their son Karl was born.  Upon graduation in 1976 Charlie was accepted for a one year rotating internship at Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital in Michigan. During this time he decided to seek a residency in ENT.  It was also during this time that daughter Ruth was born at BiCounty Hospital near Detroit.  

Dr. Kaluza was accepted at the Detroit Osteopathic Hospital for his residency.  The hospital located in an area known for its high crime rate had a very busy ER, plenty of opportunities for surgeries of all kinds!   He was also interested in research and had an opportunity to participate in animal research in micro vascular surgery at Wayne State University.  During this time he published two papers on his research which helped pave the way for these new methods.  It was a grueling four years but by the time he finished he was satisfied that he had a depth of knowledge that few ENT surgeons could claim.

Upon completion of his four year residency it was time to repay the Navy for the four year scholarship.  He was stationed in Memphis, Tennessee.  It turned out that he was the only military ENT in the region so he had to hit the ground running!  The hospital was so pressed for an ENT doctor that Charlie had to forgo the usual six week orientation program the Navy had for medical people who would soon be considered officers.  

His skill as an ENT surgeon was soon evident and he was invited to attend and lecture the local ENT society in Memphis but despite his academic credentials was denied membership because of his osteopathic training.  He was also invited to teach at the local medical school and did so as often as possible.  The base had a flying club and both Charlie and Sheryle were able to obtain pilot’s licenses.

Near completion of his tour, Charlie was approached by several osteopathic medical schools to teach and also by the Navy to work at the Bethesda Hospital in Maryland.  Instead he talked to a recruiter from Eastmoreland Hospital and decided to take a look.  On arrival, Sheryle saw her favorite color green everywhere and Charlie saw people fishing in February on the Sandy River.  When he was told that he could practice and teach he was hooked!

Charlie took over the practice of Dr. Sy Groves, an osteopathic ENT specialist and was soon busier than he was as a resident.  As was typical of a small hospital all doctors who were on staff were required at one time or another to serve in many different capacities.  With his administrative skills acquired while in the Navy, Dr. Kaluza served in all these capacities with distinction.  Additionally he served as president of the State ENT Association, member of the Northwest Osteopathic Foundation, board member and later finance committee member of the Family Care Corporation.  For his academic college he served on the examination board and was president of the college. In addition to these responsibilities he was deeply involved in the training program and usually had a student or an intern or a resident in tow. He was one of the few DO specialists who found a niche for OMT.  Thanks to some early training while as intern he developed a special skill in treating TMJ conditions.  He often received referrals from other DOs and dentists who had patients with difficult TMJ problems.
Unlike some busy doctors Dr. Kaluza found time for his passion; fishing, sometimes going to Alaska to fish with his brother.  Whenever he went fishing, son Karl was in tow and today he is also a master fisherman.  Charlie has a dizzying array of outside interests.  He designed and supervised his new home and made sure there was a large shop in back where he created a variety of wonderful chairs, tables etc.  He then acted on another dream, to build his own airplane.  He found a kit made by a small company in Oregon and proceeded to make the thing rivet by rivet all 14,000 of them. It is now hangered in Hubbard and he and Sheryle have traveled the country in it.  

In 1996 Charlie began to experience hand weakness and pain that was soon diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.  A few months later he had to stop doing surgeries but for a long time continued to practice office based ENT.  It was a difficult time of adaptation.  To occupy his spare time he embarked on a boat building program.  He found a partially completed sailboat languishing in the backyard of an airplane mechanics yard in Klammath Falls, Oregon.  He had the boat trucked to a Scappoose, Oregon boat yard where he and a couple of friends converted the rusting steel hulk into a sleek cutter type sailboat.  Of course he sailed to Alaska where he, Sheryle and friends spent the summer cruising in the waters of that area.  Other hobbies include fiction writing, computer programming, gardening etc.

In 2010 the new osteopathic medical school (COMP-NW) in Lebanon, Oregon accepted its first class.  Despite the physical toll the arthritis has taken on his body, Dr. Kaluza played an important role in forming the school.  He has participated in the interview process every year. He assists teaching ENT anatomy, and is presently in the final stages of making a lovely set of cabinets that will hold historical items at the school. What a happy day for Eastmoreland Hospital and the Osteopathic profession in general when this remarkable man decided to become a DO!

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