A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Dr. John Kelly

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Dr. John Kelly
By: Haley Alexander Last Updated: August 12, 2020

Finding your passion and turning it into a career is a dream of many. Dr. John Kelly, Jr. has been lucky to do just that.  His interest in health care was sparked when he would go on medical rounds with his father, Dr. Kelly Sr.  In those days, he would join his father on patient visits and saw how small gestures, such as holding a patient’s hand, could make a positive overall difference. When it came time to attend college and choose a career, he followed in his father’s footsteps, starting at the University of Notre Dame and graduating after three years.  

Dr. Kelly, FACP, AGSF-Emeritus, is board certified in both internal and geriatric medicine. His medical training was in general surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and internal medicine at St. Francis Hospital. He has continually practiced since graduating from Indiana University’s School of Medicine 48 years ago. During his tenure, he has been on staff at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston IL, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, and Franciscan Health in Michigan City, IN.

Some of his academic affiliations include the University of Notre Dame, Valparaiso University, Northwestern Medical School Veterans Clinic, Indiana University Medical School Northwest, Purdue University Northwest, Emory University, Georgetown University, and the University of Illinois Medical School Peoria.

“I have been given a great privilege and responsibility to care for and assist patients seeking medical help.” states Dr. Kelly. “The best part about being a doctor is being able to help people sort out the health conditions they have and get them back on the right track. I think even more than that though, I like to help people be proactive and prevent adverse medical issues.”

Since 2008, Dr. Kelly has been on staff at HealthLinc in Michigan City, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving all members of the community including the uninsured and underserved. “We have a genuine advantage here [at HealthLinc] because we welcome everyone. I am able to work with a cross section of the community and assist those who are unable to pay or do not have health insurance,” Dr. Kelly said. “They are just as deserving of care as anyone else and it is very fulfilling to provide needed medical care.”

During this current coronavirus pandemic, HealthLinc has stepped up its medical assistance and safety for patients and staff.  In December 2019, HealthLinc incorporated telemedicine along with office medical care and has increased its availability to expand access to health care in these challenging times.

“When patients come to HealthLinc, they will find a very safe, healthy environment where people can be confident that everything is being done to protect them,” Dr. Kelly said. “Besides the usual high-quality standards of sanitization, HealthLinc strictly adheres to CDC COVID -19 guidelines; everyone is wearing masks, keeping their distance, washing their hands more regularly and disinfecting more frequently. Everything is being done to stop the spread of the virus and keep patients, staff and visitors healthy,”

Dr. Kelly has seen a lot of changes in medicine over the years.  When asked what keeps him excited about his profession, he replied, “I enjoy medicine. For me, medicine is not a job or career. It’s my passion.”

“I strive to achieve successful healthcare delivery for patients, and I base this upon being proactive, patient and physician trust, good interpersonal communication, and follow-up medical management. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed, but I can deliver quality medical care and work as a partner for effective individualized health outcomes.”

While practicing medicine and helping the community is his passion, Dr. Kelly puts his family above everything else. “My main interest is my family,” he said. “My wife, Jane was a professor for over 20 years. My oldest daughter Marian is a writing professor at Loyola. Jennifer is a healthcare worker and volunteer firefighter. Kathleen left her V.P. corporate job and education to pursue her love of tending to our environment with her own land management company, and my son John is a supervisor manager with a national construction company.”

“I have twelve grandchildren, from the ages of 5- 22.  One in graduate school and working with AmeriCorps VISTA and two starting college. One grandson received a baseball scholarship starting as a freshman this year, so we are all looking forward to watching him continue his dream. I am thankful for the opportunity to watch my grandchildren enjoy the circle of life.”