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10 honored with induction into Forrest’s Hall of Fame


First row, from left are John David Wicker, Jennifer McRae and Carol Wicker, family of inductee Ralph Wicker, M.D., deceased. Pictured second row, from left, are inductees Dawson Conerly, M.D.; Richard Clark, M.D.; Charles Parkman Jr., M.D.; Thad Waites, M.D.; Joe Campbell Jr., M.D.; and, Ralph Abraham, M.D. Not pictured is Lewis Hatten, M.D. Also inducted this year are Mary Clark, M.D., and Philip Rogers, M.D., deceased.

HATTIESBURG — Ten physicians were honored as the first group of inductees into the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation Doctors Hall of Fame. These 10 physicians, though representative of a wide variety of medical specialties, each had a profound impact on Hattiesburg and South Mississippi’s medical community, offering hope and healing to patients from all walks and in all stages of life.

Ralph E. Abraham, M.D., joined Forrest General’s medical staff in 1975, and is recognized in the community as a mentor and leader in general and thoracic surgery. He currently serves as medical director of Forrest General’s Nutrition Support Team and is past-president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and Mississippi Thoracic Society.

 Joe H. Campbell, M.D., joined Forrest General’s medical staff in 1987, establishing his career as a physician leader. He currently serves as chairman of Forrest General’s Department of Anesthesia and as assistant director of the Department of Surgery. He is past-president of the Mississippi Society of Anesthesia. 

Mary Clark, M.D., established her pediatrics practice in Hattiesburg in 1951 as the only female physician in town, maintaining her practice until her retirement in 1989. During her years at Forrest General, she served as the chairperson of the hospital’s Pediatrics Department. Following her death in 2002, Clark’s legacy lives on in generations of children who thrived under her care.

Richard H. Clark, M.D., is an esteemed surgeon, with particular interest in thoracic and vascular surgery, who joined Forrest General’s medical staff in 1961. He collaborated with nine other physicians to establish Hattiesburg Clinic, later serving as its second president. He was instrumental in the formation of the Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District.

Dawson B. Conerly, M.D., was the first physician to hold the title of chief of surgery at Forrest General, and also served as medical director of Forrest General’s Hospice, the Lowery A. Woodall Outpatient Surgery Center and Pine Grove’s Next Step Program. Conerly is also one of the founding physicians of Hattiesburg Clinic.

 Lewis E. Hatten, M.D., is a well-respected surgeon in the Hattiesburg area who joined Forrest General’s medical staff in 1974 as the first fellowship-trained vascular surgeon in the state of Mississippi. He currently serves as co-medical director of Forrest General’s Wound Healing Center, and is deeply committed to many community organizations. 

Charles J. Parkman, M.D., who specializes in critical care and pulmonology, joined Forrest General’s medical staff in 1978. He is deeply involved with the American Lung Association of Mississippi, and was instrumental in establishing the hospital’s Nutrition Support Team and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program.

Philip W. Rogers, M.D., Forrest General’s first nephrologist, was dedicated to the benefits that proper nutrition offer to the healing process, and was active on Forrest General’s Nutrition Support Team. Following his death in 2005, the Philip Rogers Quality Award was established to honor his greatest qualities – mentor, innovator, humanitarian and leader.

Thad F. Waites, M.D., established his cardiology practice in Hattiesburg, joining Forrest General’s medical staff in 1987. He currently serves as medical director of Forrest General’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. He also serves as the governor of the Mississippi Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

Ralph T. Wicker, M.D., served as the only full-time neurosurgeon in the area for 12 years. He was instrumental in developing the hospital’s neurosurgical unit and in bringing a spinal cord injury prevention program to the area. Following his death, Wicker’s reputation as “miracle worker” is evident in the thousands of lives he touched during his medical career.


—Mississippi Business Journal


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