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, facebook.com/JeremyHarwoodMD. 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.