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Baptist North Mississippi celebrates the addition of 16 new physicians

By Hayden Benge

Special to the EAGLE

Summer usually brings barbecues, beach vacations and an overall slower pace. For hospital staff, however, the warmer months can be some of the busiest of the year as they welcome new physicians, many of them fresh from completing their training.

This summer was no exception for Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi, which added 16 new doctors to its staff, 11 of whom came directly out of residencies or fellowships.

BMH-NM’s new facility, in its first year of operation, was expected to create room for growth in the number of specialized doctors and allow the hospital to compete for highly-skilled staff members.

“We are extremely proud that these medical specialists have chosen to bring their expertise to this area,” said Bill Henning, CEO and Administrator of Baptist North Mississippi. “The growth of our medical staff further positions Baptist North Mississippi and the physician practices in Oxford as healthcare leaders in this region.”

The number of doctors who were added to the staff and their specialty areas include: one emergency medicine physician, six hospitalists, one medical oncologist/hematologist, one neurologist, one obstetrician/gynecologist, three orthopedic surgeons, one pediatric dentist, one physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and one urologist.

Oxford has gained specialists in fields ranging from head to toe – quite literally.

Dr. Steven Blackwood, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle care, will provide a service that has never been offered in the area.

“I am excited to bring a subspecialty to the Oxford community that has not been here before,” Blackwood said.

In July, he completed his foot and ankle fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and joined Oxford Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, whose staff works with the Ole Miss Athletics Department.

But Blackwood had never imagined he would be living in this area.

“When my wife and I first started on the interview trail to find a job for me, we initially thought it would be somewhere in Georgia,” Blackwood said.

With both of their roots in the Peach State, it seemed logical they would always find their way back to be closer to family. This changed when Dr. Marshall Crowther, Blackwood’s friend and Oxford connection, mentioned an opportunity to work with the Ole Miss Athletics Department and establish a foot and ankle practice.

“Sara (Blackwood’s wife) and I came down for an interview and immediately fell in love with Oxford,” Blackwood said. “We continued to look around Atlanta, but we felt that this was a great opportunity from a work standpoint and family standpoint.”

As far as his practice goes, Blackwood chose his specialty because he enjoys participating in the process of getting people back to their full potential.

“It is rewarding to participate in the care of getting patients walking and moving again and out of pain, or getting players back on their respective competitive field,” he said.

Getting to know his patients on a personal level is important and part of what drew him to Oxford. With a strong sense of family and community as his motivation, Blackwood enjoys getting to create those bonds with his patients.

“I tell every new patient at the end of their visit that, ‘You are now part of my family,’ because that is how they deserve to be treated,” he said.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Megan Edwards, a neurologist focused on the brain and central nervous system, joined Oxford Neurology Clinic over the summer.

Edwards is a Water Valley native who has always loved the Oxford community. With her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi, and her residency completed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Edwards’ ties to Ole Miss and Oxford are strong.

“I have always loved Oxford,” Edwards said. “My husband and I always wanted to return after my training was complete.”

Her interest in neurology began early in her medical school career.

“I really enjoyed neuroanatomy and neuroscience classes,” she said. “I decided to do an elective rotation in neurology during my clinical years of medical school.”

It was her mentor from this clinical rotation and her love of the classes that led her to the specialization.

“I loved my rotation and knew neurology was for me,” she said.

Neurology covers the study of the central nervous system – the brain and spine – and the peripheral nervous system – everything else outside the brain and spine. It also covers the autonomic nervous system and the muscular system, which are both responsible for vital bodily functions like the heartbeat and digestion.

In practicing her specialty, Edwards treats diseases and conditions like seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, strokes and more. Her love for Oxford and its people combined with her love for neurology make going to work and serving the community enjoyable.

“It is just great to be back home and getting to help people,” she said.

As the area continues to grow, Baptist North Mississippi remains committed to meeting the needs of the community for years to come.

“We are pleased to offer expanded services to our patients in a caring environment close to home,” said Henning.