Up Close | UCSF Fresno Emergency Physician Needs a Master Calendar to Keep Up with Four Children and a Busy Medical Career – But Would Have It No Other Way

The oldest of four siblings raised on 10 acres in Kerman, Rene Ramirez, MD, relished Sunday afternoon family get-togethers playing with his brother, two sisters, and cousins, and he feels the same joy now spending family time with his four children.

Dr. Ramirez, a UCSF Fresno emergency physician and wife, pediatrician Veronica Ramirez, MD, cherish watching their children play in their northwest Fresno home that has a big backyard embellished by a swing set and swimming pool.

“I really enjoy family,” he says. “Some of my fondest memories growing up are just going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Every Sunday, my grandpa would be barbecuing and people would do a potluck and just hang out … and I remember just having a blast with sleepovers.”

As he grew up, he envisioned one day having children (two boys and two girls to be exact) and of them having happy family memories. “And ‘lo and behold we have two boys and two girls,” he says, laughing with his wife. The two have known each other since college, attending Fresno State together and then marrying. They left the San Joaquin Valley together for Drexel Medical School in Philadelphia and then came to UCSF Fresno for residency training, where in their intern year, their oldest son, Andrew Rene, was born. During their third year of residency, Samantha Nicole, was born. Three years later, Danielle Juliet, arrived. And in March 2020, the Ramirezes’ pandemic baby, Ryan Joseph, was born.

All along, Dr. Ramirez had made a pact with himself that he would balance family life and his medical career. Growing up poor, his stepfather oftentimes worked several jobs at once and would be gone during both day and night. Dr. Ramirez knew he did not want to repeat that work pattern.

Being an Emergency Department physician at UCSF Fresno has been conducive to having a family, he says. “We’re a family-oriented group downtown at Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC). We all tend to have families and we all wear multiple hats and we all understand that there are other aspects to work, other projects, other things going on, and family. We all work well together to help each other out.”

Make no mistake, Dr. Ramirez, a UCSF assistant clinical professor of Emergency Medicine, is a busy physician. In addition to his Emergency Department clinical and faculty duties, he is director of the UCSF Fresno Emergency Medicine Scribe Program. He also is the Calaveras County public health officer. He serves on the board of directors of the Marjaree Mason Center; and at the Central California Blood Center (CCBC), he is chair of the Medical Advisory Committee. He also is the co-founder of the Violence Intervention Program at CRMC.

And his family is busy, too. A master family calendar quickly fills each month with karate matches, Boys and Girls Scouts meetings, trumpet, guitar and violin lessons. He rarely misses a special family event, however. “He is present for all of the kids’ extracurricular activities,” Dr. Veronica Ramirez says. “He hasn’t missed a belt promotion for karate for our three older ones. And he just does an exceptional job because he is so busy. Yet it does not compromise his family time. And I love that. And I support him in whatever career move he does because I know he will always continue to put our kids and our family first.”

His children name the thing they like best about their father. “He tries to show up for everything,” says Andrew, 12. “He helped me when I broke my arm,” says Danielle, 7. And 10-year-old Samantha adds, “he’s always there when you need him.”

The praise makes Dr. Ramirez wipe tears. “I love my kids very much,” he says. “And I want to set them up for success in whatever they choose to do. And part of that helping to set them up for success is for me to also show them success in being a parent.”

“You always try to think, ‘am I doing an OK job as a father?” Was I too hard on them this day? Was I hard enough? You just never know what kind of values are being instilled in them. Or appreciation. Are they taking things for granted: I grew up poor and their experience growing up is vastly different than my experience growing up,” he says “I want to give them everything they want, but at the same time, it’s probably one of the hardest things, because it’s figuring out that you can’t spoil them rotten. You have to set some limitations. “

The easiest aspect of parenthood is the unconditional love he has for his children, Dr. Ramirez said. “We are blessed to have each and every one of them.”

For this Father’s Day, Dr. Ramirez has a simple wish. “I just want to be home with my kids. As boring as that might sound, let everybody wake up when they want to wake up, and let everybody just enjoy each other.”