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Q&A: Hoop Dreams Lead to Career Reality for Pediatrician

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Dr. Jeremy Harwood’s initial career goal was to make goals. A student at Cumberland University in Tennessee, Dr. Harwood was on a basketball scholarship when he injured his ankle. His journey through healing led him to leave the basketball court after college and pursue medicine as his life’s profession. Today, he’s a pediatrician with CHI St. Vincent Primary and Urgent Care in Little Rock.

Q: Did you always want to become a doctor?

A: I first started considering it when I had an ankle injury in college, which was initially misdiagnosed. I suffered through an entire season before having it correctly identified, and I needed surgery to repair it. This sparked my interest in medicine, and I was attracted to orthopedic surgery at first. In fact, I went to medical school with the intention of working with athletes and their sports-related injuries.

Q: Where did you go to medical school?
A: The University of Kentucky is where I did pediatrics rotations. I was still attracted to orthopedic surgery, but I absolutely loved my time caring for sick children. After much praying and soul searching, I knew God’s plan for me was pediatrics and not surgery.

After medical school, I completed my residency in pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, then became board certified. I’m a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics. For three years, I served as an active duty pediatrician in the Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. My family – wife, Joy and son, Hunter – and I, moved to Little Rock afterward to be closer to family, and I joined St. Vincent in 2015. Joy, Hunter and I welcomed an addition to our family that year, too, our daughter Josie Mae.

Q: As a pediatrician, what is the one most helpful thing a parent or any adult can provide you when they bring their child into your clinic?

A: There are way too many things I like to talk about, but if I have to pick, I’d say to ask questions. Knowledge is power, and there is no such thing as a stupid question.  I love talking to parents about any concerns they have, and every opportunity I have to help them gain knowledge is potentially a positive change for their children and family going forward.

Q: What do you like most about working with CHI St. Vincent?

A: The best thing is my patients get to see me every time they come in. I want my patients to see me every single time they need to see a physician. This allows me to really know everything going on with them, and I think parents feel better knowing they are always going to see me.

I want my practice to have the feel of a small town doctor’s office. I want my patients and their parents to be comfortable when they come see me and feel like they can contact me anytime about anything. Facebook is a great tool that enables this, and parents of my patients have access to me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via my business page, My parents love having this access for questions that may not necessarily need an appointment or if something comes up after hours. You don’t have to be a patient to ‘Like’ and follow my page; I am frequently posting links to articles pertaining to children’s health and fitness. In addition to general pediatrics, I continue to draw on my past and current experiences with sports and sporting injuries and have a special interest in sports medicine for children and adolescents.

This post is a collaboration with AY Magazine.