Retired Army physician takes pride in serving fellow veterans

Dr. Galen Warren, 80, came out of retirement six years ago to work part-time at Dayton's VA Medical Center. AIMEE HANCOCK / STAFF
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Dr. Galen Warren, 80, came out of retirement six years ago to work part-time at Dayton's VA Medical Center. AIMEE HANCOCK / STAFF

Credit: Aimee Hancock

Credit: Aimee Hancock

DAYTON — Urologist and veteran of the U.S. Medical Corps Dr. Galen Warren retired from his private medical practice in February 2015 — a decision that lasted about two months.

By spring of that year, Warren was back to work, this time serving his fellow vets in the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s (VAMC) urology department.

“Retirement just didn’t suit me,” Warren said. “I’ve done urology and been a physician for over 50 years, so when you haven’t done a lot of other things in your life besides work and take care of your patients, there’s not much else you can do and do it better.”

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Warren, 80, opened his private practice in 1975 in Cincinnati, where he still resides with his wife, Avril. He makes the hour-long drive to and from the Dayton VAMC 6 to 7 times per month.

“I was so glad that I could find an opening here and I just get energized every morning when I drive up,” he said.

At the Dayton VAMC, Warren assists urologist Dr. Jonathan Hakim, who describes him as a hardworking and dedicated physician, and overall person, putting his own needs aside for the benefit of the patients he serves.

“During the COVID crisis, his dedication is unwavering. He has never missed a day of tour and is never late, regardless of driving conditions or weather,” Hakim said. “Despite his advanced age and higher risk of complications if he were to contract COVID, he refuses to abandon the mission to the veterans and shows up with his mask, ready to work.”

Hakim said Warren regularly shows his passion not only for veterans, but for the Dayton VAMC and its staff, taking time to mentor incoming physician assistants.

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“Dr. Warren has grown with our department and his contributions during the pandemic have accelerated,” Hakim said. “He helped draft new protocols, develop new techniques, and his true legacy is teaching and mentorship.”

Warren earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1963 before completing medical school at Ohio State University. Following a surgical internship in Los Angeles, he served for the U.S. Medical Corps from 1968 to 1971.

Warren was part of a senior student program with the military, which came with a three-year obligation to serve following his internship. This obligation allowed him the option to serve the three years in Germany rather than ship to Vietnam.

During his tour, Warren provided general medical care for soldiers and their dependents before working under a neurosurgeon in Landstuhl in his final year abroad.

“That’s why I continue to work here, because I want to give back what the military did for me and for what I’ve been able to experience in my life,” Warren said.

Warren said he has no plans to slow down.

“I’m semi-retired already and I love coming here, so I’m going to do it as long as I can,” he said.

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