By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
The end of August brought transition for Brookings Dr. Lawrence Witt and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP) Nancy Erb, with paths crossing in a significant way.
Witt has sent notification to all of his patients that, after 25 years, he is retiring from his medical practice effective Friday.
Witt said the time just seems right. "I've planned to do it for awhile, it was just a matter of timing and events."
When asked if he is excited about the move, he responded, "Excited, yeah, why not?" When asked what he envisions for his future with his new educational emphasis on history and the arts, he said, "I'm exploring the notion of storytelling." He has already had some experience in telling stories with videos he has produced about travel. "I raised money for exchange students showing a video of my trip to China," he said. He paused and added, "I'll see wherever the muse will take me."
Although he will be spending weekdays in the Ashland area for classes and study, he emphasized that he isn't moving from Brookings. He and his wife, Marie, traveled the coast of Oregon before choosing to move to Brookings 25 years ago. "This is home," he said. "It's the most beautiful spot."
Friends, family, and former patients are no doubt looking forward to hearing about the adventures of his new educational pursuit and what it may lead to.
His apartment in Ashland will be a bachelor pad for the student. Marie Witt PhD, will remain in Brookings and continue to provide psychological services in her office in the Harbor facility where she and her husband have served clients for 25 years.
Erb, armed with her recently acquired master's degree in science, specializing in adult geriatric medicine, is moving into Witt's office to begin her practice as a GNP.
Not only will Erb be taking over Witt's office space, she will also acquire use of all medical equipment and, what Erb seems to think is the best inheritance of all, the continued help of Witt's office assistant, Heidi English.
Although this will be Erb's first private practice as a GNP, she is no stranger to the medical field. Erb earned her high school diploma from Brookings Harbor High School in three years, and in 1974 began a 10-year career as a nurse's aide, before returning to academia in 1989.
In 1991 Erb completed her training at College of the Redwoods in Crescent City to practice patient care as a licensed vocational nurse. In 1994 she began attending classes at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, where she received her degree as a registered nurse, followed by another two years, from 1999 to 2001, to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
During all of this time Erb continued to work in the medical field, in home health, skilled nursing care facilities, hospice, and assisted living. Still seeking additional training, Erb next sought and received a $15,000 scholarship from the Hartford Foundation to work toward her master's degree in science, specializing in adult geriatric medicine at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU).
Erb explained that the Hartford Foundation sets the guidelines for geriatric care, and OHSU is one of five medical teaching hospitals in the country offering a specialty in geriatrics.
She will be able to serve any of Witt's patients who desire to continue with her, except the children who must be referred, and she looks forward to meeting new patients as well.
A lifelong learner, Erb said, "I still have a lot to learn. I've been watching him (Witt), figuring things out, and I want to be as positive an influence on the community as he has been, and he's gonna' be around."
Erb, who has spent most of her life in Brookings-Harbor, is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of her mature patients as she practices her specialty, treating those in the age group she has been serving over the years. For additional information, or to make appointments, phone (541) 469-2015