Gessler Clinic’s Dr. Alan Gasner Approaches 50 Years of Medical Service
by PAUL CATALA
From his first internship in May 1972 to his most recent patient visit in his clinic office in 2021, Dr. Alan Gasner has literally had a pulse on his patients and his career.
Now in his 46th year of professional practice, Gasner continues to help his patients lead healthier lives through his nearly five decades of experience as an internal medicine specialist.
It’s a profession that has taken him from a residency in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, to working as chief of medicine, chief of cardiology, medical staff president and 30 years of trusted treatment at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven.
Along the way, Gasner, 74, says medicine has been a satisfying career and says he’ll continue seeing patients until “I drop in the saddle.”
Speaking from his Gessler Clinic office, Gasner says his career has been satisfying, though it can be challenging to keep up with ongoing technological changes. When he first started, patient records were kept by dictation, typing and handwriting; now, records are mandated to be put via computer.
The upside to working in a clinic with the amenities of modern medical-care technology also has its benefits, Gasner says. He says it offers more sources for information on better treatments for patients.
“Working at a multi-specialty clinic is beneficial in that you have other specialists you can call upon in-house for problems when you need it,” says Gasner, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1968 and medical degree from State University of New York in 1972. “You also have all of the business portions of the clinic handled by administrators, and that leaves you to practice medicine.”
Gasner lives in Winter Haven with his wife, Susan, and has three grown daughters and a son. He moved to Polk County from New York in 1975 and first joined a group of three internal medicine doctors before they merged with Gessler Clinic in 1990.
During his medical tenure, Gasner has seen many changes – mostly for the better.
When Gasner first came to the Winter Haven Hospital, he says there were no sub-specialists and internists did much more – dealing with cardiology, respiratory diseases, heart attacks, respiratory failures, diabetes, insulin care and other health issues.
“We started off doing everything and then as these sub-specialists came to town, we had other people to rely on for some of those things. Back then, we wore many hats and there were lots of night calls, weekend calls,” he says.
Reflectively, Gasner adds there were parts of those days he doesn’t miss.
“I don’t miss the night calls and weekend calls; I miss the continuity of care that we were able to provide via patients to the office, then to the hospital, then back to the office,” he says.
From 1978 to 1992, Gasner was affiliated with Winter Haven Hospital, where he served as chief of medicine, chief of cardiology, president of medical staff, served on the board of directors and the ethics committee, where he was president. He worked at Internal Medicine Associates of Winter Haven from 1987 to 1990 before joining Gessner Clinic in January 1991 where he currently sees about 20 patients per day.
Outside his office, Gasner says although he’s not affiliated with any area clubs or social organizations, he likes to spend time with daily exercise – biking, playing tennis, running, golfing or working out. He adds that although he has no current retirement plans, he will stay in Winter Haven and hopes to do more traveling.
As for his medical career, Gasner says he has no regrets in choosing his profession.
“The reason I’m glad I did it and the reason I’m glad I still do it is I really love the social interaction with the patient, getting to know them, becoming part of their families,” he says. “I know their families … and I’ve been here long enough now I know the patients — the parents and their kids. It’s getting to know people in long-term relationships with them and trying to keep them healthy that makes me happy.”