Dr. Hill comes home

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Dr. Edward Hill has come full circle.
After more than a decade of traveling the United States and the world as an advocate for doctors and their patients, the Tupelo family physician has stepped back into his role as director of the North Mississippi Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Center.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Hill, who just completed his tenure as chairman of the World Medical Association, a position he took after serving as American Medical Association chairman and president.
Hill stepped back as the director of the residency center in 2001 as he began serving in the national and international medical leadership roles, but he remained a full-time faculty member.
Since last summer, he has been serving as the center’s interim director.
And although Hill won’t be jetting off to Israel, China, Australia and Iceland, he’s excited to permanently return to leading the residency center he helped start in 1995.
“We have to rebuild the primary care base in this country, not just Mississippi,” Hill said. “It’s the only thing that’s been proven to lower costs and improve quality of care.”
In July, Hill and his faculty will welcome their first expanded class of eight new doctors. Over the next three years, the center will grow from the 18 residents to 24.
“My dream is to grow to 36 residents,” said the 73-year-old doctor.

World medicine
During his tenure as AMA president, Hill spent much of his time advocating for the uninsured, lobbying Congress to fix problems with Medicare reimbursement formulas and pushing for a comprehensive school health curriculum.
Over the past four years, Hill has served as chairman of the World Medical Association and traveled the world tackling issues like violence toward health care workers, unethical organ donation and conflicts of interest for military physicians.
The work has taken him to China – where the World Medical delegates got a surprisingly warm welcome – and Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“It’s been very satisfying work,” Hill said.
The World Medical Association’s finances have stabilized and its membership has grown from 86 to 98 countries.

Focus at home
In addition to preparing family medicine physicians, Hill plans to continue advocating for health education as a member of the Mississippi State Board of Health.
“My dream – for the last 40 years – has been to see comprehensive, coordinated, sequential health education in every school, K-12,” Hill said.
Comprehensive school health focuses on getting kids to build healthy habits, which is much more productive than getting adults to persuade adults to give up unhealthy habits, Hill said.
“What happens then is for the first time we’ll be practicing real, primary prevention,” he said. “I think we’re making some significant progress, but we have a long way to go.”

Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@journalinc.com.