Put simply, health care in this region is better because of Julie Raymond, M.D. Her work, particularly in breast health, elevated the level of care that is available to the people of the Black Hills. But it wasn’t just her work that inspired her colleagues to strive for excellence. Her life was a study in human compassion. “A legacy of love,” Alice Police, M.D., labeled it.
Dr. Police came to Monument Health with surgery experience from hospitals in New York and California. She expected to bring the cutting edge procedures and protocols of these big city hospitals to Rapid City.
“When I came here, I expected to find a rudimentary breast care program. I was blown away by the program I found,” she explained. Dr. Raymond laid the foundations of an astonishing breast care program at Monument Health. “There are some breast care programs in New York and California that aren’t as sophisticated as the one here,” Dr. Police shared.
The Dr. Julie Raymond Memorial Fund honors Dr. Raymond’s dedication to breast health education in the community. Funds raised support the continuation of her vision and passion through community education and events. Donations can be made by visiting monument.health/donate.
How good she was
It’s one thing to provide outstanding care. It’s something entirely different to provide excellent care that is warm and caring at its roots. Dr. Raymond’s heart was always aimed at helping people. “She was the most compassionate person I’ve ever met,” said Kendra Storm, DNP. “It didn’t matter who you were — what walk of life you came from — she accepted you, and she wanted to do what she could to help you.” Kendra worked alongside Dr. Raymond for over 20 years. “When I lost her, I lost my best friend, my sister, my mentor. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her,” she said.
Dr. Raymond was a special person, a one-of-a-kind combination of leadership, devotion and an unwavering sense of love. “She was the whole package; she was kind, intelligent. She would give you everything,” Kendra said. “She had no idea how wonderful she was. She didn’t know how good she was. For her, it’s just what you do — you go in and take good care of patients.”
“If you told her how wonderful this program is because of her, she’d have brushed it off — she’d say this is just what you’re supposed to do,” Kendra said.
“She changed a community,” Dr. Police said. “It’s rare in medicine to see one physician making that big of a difference.” With breast cancer being as common as it is, it’s comforting to know that a program like the one championed by Dr. Raymond exists and is continuing — and not just the distinction of it, but the heart of it, too. “We treat everyone from homeless people to wealthy ranchers,” Dr. Police said, “and we treat everyone — regardless of background — with the same human value.” That sort of unconditional love is the Julie Raymond way.
With all of her heart
Kendra, reminiscing about her friend and mentor, summed up the unforgettable Dr. Raymond, “If a patient needed a commode at their house or a shower chair, she would go and make sure that they had it. If she had a patient call in who couldn’t make it to their appointment, she would go and visit them at their house. She once opened the clinic by herself in the middle of snow storm to meet with patients. She never thought of herself, she only ever thought of others.”
The central theme of the Julie Raymond story is love, and that permeated every setting she was in. “Her family meant the world to her,” Kendra shared. Dr. Raymond’s three kids and her husband were the delight of her life. “She would do anything for them. She loved them with all
of her heart.”
Alice Police, M.D., FACS, (left) is a breast surgeon with more than 25 years of experience. She joined Monument Health after Dr. Raymond’s passing. She works with Kendra to continue the outstanding breast care that is offered at the Cancer Care Institute.
Kendra Storm, DNP, (right) worked alongside Dr. Raymond for over 20 years as her nurse. She credits Dr. Raymond with helping her to pursue excellence and compassion in every way in both her career and life.
Written by Stephen Simpson