A lot has changed in the world of medicine since Dr. Michael Zoller founded Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Savannah in 1977, but Dr. Zoller and the six other physicians on his team still do certain things by the book.
“We really try to accommodate patients… And give them the best care possible,” Dr. Zoller said on Wednesday while celebrating the practice’s anniversary and the holidays during a staff party at the DeSoto.
Zoller said it wasn’t uncommon for ear, nose and throat doctors to start their own private practices when he came onto the scene in 1977.
“I think there were seven other practitioners and what we did was we covered for each other if we had to go out of town. You knew that, if you went out of town, you always had someone that could look after your patients,” he said.
Seven years after opening his doors, he welcomed Dr. Fred Daniel into the practice and, in the years since, Dr. Stephen Rashleigh, Dr. William Moretz, Dr. Brad Rawlings, Michelle Yamanda, physician’s assistant and Dr. Diane Davis have joined the practce.
“I took this little thing, and I was on call seven days a week, 365 days a year the first few years, and I brought in these outstanding, well-trained physicians, and everybody has trained in a different area (of the country), which is really nice,” Zoller said.
“… It’s great because you have all these different ideas and different ways of doing things, and we can learn from each other and the older more seasoned people can teach the younger ones some of the tricks of the trade and the younger ones can teach the older ones some of the newer things that have come out.”
A native of New Orleans, Zoller’s career spans far beyond his personal practice. He is a past president of the Georgia Medical Society and the Georgia Society of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, campaign chairman, and later board chairman, of the United Way of the Coastal Empire and his had also served on the boards of the Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, Savannah Country Day School, St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations and the Medical Association of Georgia.
He also serves as a clinical professor at the Medical College of Georgia and Mercer University School of Medicine and said his teaching opportunities were one of the main reasons he relocated to Savannah. His practice continues to welcome students who are in their last year of residency for a two-week rotation to learn about ear, nose and throat practices and treatment.
“Our practice is deeply involved in teaching; it’s not just me,” Zoller said.
Over the last four decades, Dr. Zoller has treated multiple generations of the same families and now has satellite offices in Pooler, Richmond Hill, Statesboro, Rincon and The Landings. Looking ahead, he said he hopes to keep expanding his staff in order to bring in new ideas so they can continue to expand the services they offer.
“One thing that made this practice unique from the beginning was the outreach to the surrounding communities. We were very early to start satellite offices. We started going to Effingham County 20 to 25 years ago,” he said.
“… I’m just very grateful to the physicians who were so kind to refer to patients to me in the beginning and give me a chance, not just from Savannah, but the surrounding areas. And I’m appreciative of the many friendships I’ve made with patients and their families.”