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Former Bay Area Resident Returning Home to Practice Medicine


When Donald J. Hermens, M.D., gastroenterologist, left Northern California for medical school he never dreamt he would be gone so long – 33 years in fact. “I have always wanted to return to the Bay Area,” said Dr. Hermens, who continued, “But after living in a small town in the Midwest my opinion has changed about returning to a large metropolitan area. My wife and I have come to find smaller communities more appealing, so when we discovered the need for a gastroenterologist in Ukiah, we thought it would be the perfect fit.”

Dr. Hermens has fond memories of his childhood vacationing in Ukiah, “My family and I vacationed here every year growing up,” reflects Dr. Hermens, “I have also brought my kids through the area on several camping trips. When the practice opportunity became available in Ukiah I couldn’t help but feel excited!”

As a gastroenterologist, Dr. Hermens specializes in caring for and treating digestive disorders and diseases. Dr. Hermens explains, “I treat intestinal disorders from top to bottom, including the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas which are all part of the digestive system and included in the practice of gastroenterology. Diseases of the liver are an especially large part of my practice. Most people know that endoscopic procedures of the upper and lower digestive system are one of the primary means for evaluation and management of digestive diseases. I also rely on esophageal motility testing, esophageal pH testing and capsule endoscopy to assess problems of the esophagus and small bowel respectively. One of the things I like best about gastroenterology is the wide spectrum of problems I am able to diagnose and treat.”

Dr. Hermens explains, “Gastroenterology is mostly a consultative specialty. Most patients are referred by their primary care doctors for help with specific GI problems. In my office we manage patient's GI problems in coordination with their primary care physicians who still remain in charge of their overall medical care. Some GI conditions can be addressed in one or two visits, such as patients with abnormal liver functions or difficult acid reflux disease. Other patients may require ongoing care, such as those with inflammatory bowel disease or chronic hepatitis.”

When asked what a patient can expect from him, Dr. Hermens responded, “My most important patient is the one in front of me. I give each patient my full, undivided attention in the time that I am seeing them. I want anyone who enters my office to be treated with courtesy and respect from the time they step up to the reception desk until the time they walk out the door. No one can guarantee that every problem can be diagnosed or that every illness can be fixed, but I can promise that I will evaluate, manage and care for every patient to the best of my ability.”

While not seeing patients Dr. Hermens enjoys spending time with his family. “I like playing sports with my son and watching him play. I also enjoy reading philosophy, painting landscapes, and yard work. I love being outdoors, and truly love Northern California.”

Dr. Hermens is now accepting new patients at the Ukiah Valley Medical Specialties Gastroenterology office at 415 Hospital Drive in Ukiah. To schedule an appointment please call (707)-467-5275.