Ron & Kelli Jaecks
A Power Duo In Their Respective Health Care Arenas
By Harvey Gail
Salem can boast two significant players in the healthcare scene. Ron and Kelli Jaecks make their home in South Salem and have dedicated their lives to improving the health and quality of living in our community.
Ron Jaecks, MD, FACS has served this Salem community for nearly 20 years as a highly respected general surgeon. He can also be called “Governor Jaecks” as the elected Governor representing the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) on their national Board of Governors. He achieved this honor after 25 years of being an active fellow of the (ACS), and President of the ACS-Oregon Chapter in 2013-2015.
On the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Surgeons Council, Dr. Jaecks reenergized its annual Day at the Capitol in Salem. In acknowledgment of this effort, for four straight years, Oregon ACS has received a grant from the American College of Surgeons to support its legislative advocacy efforts. Ron also participates on the national stage by attending the American College of Surgeons’ Clinical Congress and ACS’s Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.
Dr. Jaecks is an expert in laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive surgery) and he devotes much of his practice to patients with breast cancer, colon cancer and other complicated surgical problems. In 1997, he moved to Salem to join Kaiser Permanente, Northwest. He has excelled in advanced laparoscopy and is now working to bring robotic general surgery to Salem. Ron views his work in surgery as a highly effective and compassionate avenue for community involvement.
In addition to his clinical practice he is very involved in his profession as well. For many years he served as an active board member of the Medical - Polk County Medical Society and helped lead its Foundation in its annual fundraiser for Project Access and Med-Assist. He mentors young medical students interested in surgery practice.
While achieving some notoriety as a “rock star surgeon” because of his long hair and flashy clothing, Ron can also be seen at almost every Green Bay Packers’ game (either at a local Packer Bar, affectionately know as ‘Packer Church’, or Lambeau Field), dressed as “Super G-Force Man.” He also gained national exposure when he was attacked by a Barred owl while running in Bush’s Pasture Park back in January 2015. This event spurred the sale of “Owl Attack” signs and t-shirts, which benefitted the Salem Parks Foundation, and a segment about the incident on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Ron Kelemen, CFP®, a certified financial planner with The H Group, has served with Ron Jaecks on the local medical society and foundation boards. Kelemen knows Jaecks as a leader in the drive to robotic surgery. “Ron is a leader in Salem’s medical community. His appearance, outlandish attire and demeanor can put even the most worried patient at ease,” he said.
Part two of the super couple is Kelli Swanson Jaecks. If you have seen a play at the Pentacle Theatre and Verona Studios, you might have seen her and not even known it. Her roles as Violet in “9 to 5,” Roxie in “Chicago” or Mayzie LaBird in “Seussical” and many more have entertained Salem citizens over the years. She also was the inaugural winner of “Dancing with the Salem Stars.”
The lady behind the costumes is a serious professional. As anexperienced dental hygienist, with a Master’s degree in Communication, she has just finished six years on the national board of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, serving as the president in 2014-15. In that role, she worked nationally to advocate for the profession of dental hygiene and worked to increase access to oral health care for all Americans.
Kelli continues her advocacy efforts here in Oregon. She has been appointed by the Governor to the Oversight and Advisory Committees for both of Oregon’s Dental Pilot Projects. She also serves on the board for the Oregon Oral Health Coalition, whose mission is, “Improving General Health through Oral Health for all Oregonians.” She considers it a great responsibility to be a healthcare professional and thoroughly enjoys employing her leadership skills and passion for oral health care in these statewide arenas.
Kelli also owns and operates Verbal Impact, LLC, through which she speaks, writes and consults in the areas of women’s health, oral and overall health. Visit her website at kellijaecks.com.
Affectionately calling each other “Lovey,” the couple is happy when they have a weekend together at home in Salem. They make service to the community a priority. For the last few years, the Jaecks’ have been the hosts of the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation’s Crystal Apple Awards Red Carpet Show.
“It is a fun way to give back to our community and honor educators who work so hard to help our kids succeed,” said Kelli.
For the Jaecks, providing excellent patient care is important, but so is leading and being part of the conversations that shape and change health care systems, delivery and access. Ron and Kelliwork to make positive change happen for their patients, clients and community. Power couple indeed!