The Family Health Centers Salutes Ken Minnich, MD

The Family Health Centers, with much gratitude and admiration, congratulates Dr. Ken Minnich on his retirement from the practice on February 1, 2015.  We thank Dr. Minnich for eighteen years of service and for his kindness to patients, colleagues and staff.

“My time at the Hominy Valley office was all I had hoped it would be,” says Dr. Minnich. I greatly enjoyed getting to know and trying to help the people I saw there. The staff was exceptional, working together really well, so it was fun to work there.”

A native of Asheville, Dr. Minnich grew up on Sunset Mountain where his family enjoyed views of the area below the “bent tree” of Bent Tree Road, a landmark that remains a fixture of the neighborhood today. Following graduation from Lee H. Edwards High School, now Asheville High School, he studied at Duke University.

Dr. Minnich’s pursuits at Duke led him to complete an Economics degree at Columbia University in New York. His focus was the economic development of less developed countries. Upon completion of this degree, he worked in construction at Disneyworld, which sparked his interest in Civil Engineering and next, a Civil Engineering degree from Georgia Tech.

As a Civil Engineer, Dr. Minnich spent eight years designing and building offshore oil platforms. He led projects in Singapore, Jakarta, Abu Dhabi, locations in Malaysia and in his home base of Houston, Texas.

While overseas, Dr. Minnich supplemented his interest in Engineering by studying medical books. Dr. Minnich enjoyed trying to diagnose illness, and developed a strong interest in pursuing medicine professionally.

Dr. Minnich elected to complete pre-med studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He earned his Medical Degree at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine, and went on to fulfill his residency at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital in 1995.

During his time in New York, Dr. Minnich dated his wife-to-be, Susan, a native of Connecticut. They eventually parted ways and married other people. They found one another again when Dr. Minnich moved to Florida to study medicine. Susan was living in Ft. Lauderdale. Susan is a talented artist with a successful career as a Psychotherapist. They married in 1990. They now live in North Asheville with their dogs, Bert and Ernie, and spend time producing gorgeous pottery together with their own wheel and kiln.

“I throw the pots and Susan carves and paints them. Then I glaze them.”
Before joining The Family Health Centers in 1998, Dr. Minnich worked in St. Joseph’s Urgent Care. Dr. Minnich became a partner in the family practice in 2000.

“One thing I like about family medicine, which contrasts with urgent care, is that I’d see three generations of a single family. I knew which patients lived close to one another and I could ask someone else how a patient was doing. Most of our nurses were from the area, and they knew everyone. That’s one of the nice things about a small community.”

Each day Dr. Minnich was motivated by the opportunity to help his patients be well.

“Every patient was different. If a patient came in the door, first I wanted to be sure they were not really sick. Then, I worked to keep them from getting sick.”
“I like seeing older folks because they have long histories which are interesting to me. My favorite conversation is about how a husband and wife met. My patients have great stories.”

Family Physicians go into practice for a variety of reasons, and recent changes in healthcare have made a career in family medicine more complicated. Dr. Minnich offers this simple advice to other family physicians:
“Understand your expectations and know what you want to get out of family practice.”

Dr. Minnich, as you might expect, will not slow down after retirement. He will tend his vegetable garden, take trips to see friends, and plans to take various classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville.
“It’s always possible that I’ll take on more. Let’s see what happens next!”

The Family Health Centers sends our well wishes to Dr. Minnich as he embarks on a new chapter. You are missed.