Residency Center grad takes over leadership

Health StockBy Michaela Gibson Morris
Daily Journal

TUPELO – North Mississippi Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Center has tapped one of its own as its new leader.

Dr. Dennis Smith, a graduate of the program who has served on the faculty for six and a half years, stepped into the role earlier this month.

The residency center gives physicians who have completed medical school three years of training in the clinic and hospital settings. Since it was founded in 1995, more than half the center’s graduates have remained in the region.

“I want to continue the legacy” of training strong family physicians and providing a quality medical home to patients, said Smith, who has served on the center faculty since 2007.

The goal of the residency center is not just to teach young doctors how to put the current best practices in family medicine to work, but to lay a foundation for physicians who will continuously seek out the best practices through the course of their career, Smith said.

“That’s very fulfilling,” to be a part of developing young physicians and taking care of patients, Smith said.

Smith succeeds Dr. Edward Hill, the program’s founding director, who remains on the faculty after completing a second term as director.

Smith is the ideal choice to lead the program, Hill said, adding that Smith combines a wealth of experience as a resident at the center as a private practice doctor and as a faculty member with the energy of a young physician.

“We are all looking forward to his leadership,” Hill said.

A native of Batesville, Smith was inspired to pursue medicine by his high school physiology teacher and hometown family medicine physician.

“I really liked the idea of science and math,” Smith said.

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Smith went through the medical technology program at NMMC and worked in a lab for two years before going to medical school at the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City.

Returning to Tupelo for family medicine training after medical school graduation was a natural fit.

“This was home for me,” said Smith, who served as chief resident during his final year.

Smith lives in Saltillo with his wife, Janet Howell Smith, and their two children.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com