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Nevada County people: New physicians drawn to outdoors, small-town feel

Being close to nature is one reason why Susan Greenawald came to western Nevada County from Sacramento this summer. But she has a bigger role to play in the community – that of a neurologist.

Greenawald, 44, is one of three doctors who have come to the area during the past three months. The others are primary care physicians: George Rice from Los Angeles and Heather Lucas-Ross from Sacramento.

Greenawald received her medical degree from the University of California, Davis and completed her neurology residency and fellowship at Stanford University. Her bachelor’s degree is in astronomy, from Wellesley College, Mass.



“I like the community here,” she said. “I love the diversity of the points of view. I also think there is a lot going on culturally. I love the beauty of the area.”

George Rice, 40, also likes the outdoors and has apassion for jazz and blues. He received his medical degree from Rush University in Chicago, Ill. He also was the chief resident at the University of Southern California. Rice received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sports medicine from Stanford University.




Rice moved with his wife and 16-month-old son to his new home in Penn Valley in July.

“We had lived in Northern California for some time and were very attracted to this area,” he said. “So when we decided to settle down professionally, we wanted to come back to this area.”

Rice also was attracted by the prospect of having electronic medical records of his patients, a convenience that is “not readily available to physicians starting out on their own,” he said.

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital has “a vision of building a communitywide electronic health record,” said Craig Wilcox, director of business development at the hospital.

For Heather Lucas-Ross and her husband, relocating to Grass Valley is like a homecoming.

Lucas-Ross is a 1994 Nevada Union High School graduate. Her husband was two years her senior at NU.

Lucas-Ross, 30, received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Dominican College in San Rafael. She researched cardiology in Denver for two years before getting her medical degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Lucas-Ross recently completed the Sutter Health Family Medicine residency program in Sacramento.

“It feels good because I can give back to the community that raised me,” she said. “It’s just good to know I’m fulfilling a real need because of the lack of physicians (in this area).”

Lucas-Ross said she’s settling down in Grass Valley with her husband and 3-year-old son.

“We are here to be near our family,” she said. “It’s a pretty good place to grow up.”

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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