Physician recruitment and retention is a key element in the healthcare access equation. Not surprisingly, many communities are stepping up their efforts in understanding why physicians select specific locations to practice medicine.
In some instances, physicians are drawn to locations where they have developed family or educational connections. Such is the case for Dr. Pamela Lacy and Dr. Cassie Brook Hill, who recently joined the staff of Physicians & Surgeons Clinic, a regional provider of ob-gyn services.
While Lacy is a graduate of Medical College of Pennsylvania Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia and Hill is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, both have ties to the region. Both grew up in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle area and received their bachelor’s degrees from Mississippi State University — Lacy’s in biology and Hill’s in biological engineering.
Both doctors said they feel a sense of commitment to the area, and that Physicians & Surgeons Clinic — established in 1965 with offices in Amory and Columbus — provided the opportunity to serve patients in the region.
“I’ve always felt a strong sense of giving something back to my community, and I wanted to show young people that you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it,” said Lacy, who said that she knew that she wanted to become a physician when she accompanied her mother to the Mississippi University for Women campus as a child and came across a book about medicine.
Hill said that she had a strong desire to stay in Mississippi, and said that she finds her profession very rewarding.
“I enjoy the fact that I have the opportunity to take care of patients throughout several stages in their lives,” she says. “It’s an honor to play a role in your patients’ lives.”
Both believe that community education efforts are important in helping patients understand relevant health issues that may affect them personally or their families, and both have spoken at various community events, such as the recent Lunch and Learn programs on cervical cancer.
The physicians noted that the more educated patients tend to be about their health matters, the more compliant they tend to be in taking care of their health.
Beyond the demands of patient care, the physicians said that the business aspects of medicine have become increasingly challenging, particularly as it relates to issues such as adequate prenatal care for women who are uninsured and underserved. They also said that it is important for states such as Mississippi to continue to address issues of healthcare access, particularly in more rural areas.
While there are six obstetrician-gynecologists in their practice, Lacy and Hill are the only females. They said that they are glad that women in this area have a choice of receiving care from a female ob-gyn, if they want that option.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at firstname.lastname@example.org.