COLUMBUS, Miss., July 23, 2021 – Long time Columbus physician Dr. Jack Reed says looking back, he can see his 45-year medical career in three distinct phases –internal medicine, nephrology and finally Baptist Golden Triangle. Each of those phases, he says, was exciting and rewarding and he was doing exactly what he wanted to do. It is the fourth phase, retirement, or as he calls it ‘taking time to stop and smell the roses’ that is already making him a little nostalgic.
“Dr. Reed was a visionary for healthcare in our community,” said Baptist Golden Triangle Administrator Paul Cade. “He has been committed to our hospital, serving as our very first chief medical officer. He has had a great rapport with patients, employees and doctors here and always kept patients number one when making decisions for the hospital,” Cade added.
Reed began officially announcing his retirement in mid-July. It was fitting that the young doctors in the hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency program were the first group to hear the news. They responded by giving him a standing ovation.
Reed was among a group of physicians who first saw the need for such a program at the hospital to help recruit physicians to the area. Mentoring young physicians; watching 100 percent of the first class of residents pass their medical board exams and then see the hospital recently add three residents to its medical staff is our ‘biggest achievement’, Reed said.
That says a lot from a physician who started his 45-year career graduating among the top 10 in his medical school class at the University of Mississippi in 1973. Reed would complete an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he was selected ‘Best Resident’ in 1976.
Reed returned to Columbus that year and began practicing internal medicine and investing his time, effort and talents back into his community. He helped establish Internal Medicine Associates in Columbus where he practiced until 1994 when he left to start Nephrology Associates (NA). As a pupil of Dr. John Bower, a pioneer in kidney disease and dialysis in Mississippi, Reed saw the need for specialized treatment, especially dialysis, for kidney patients in the Golden Triangle.
He served as medical director for national award winning dialysis units in Columbus, Starkville, Macon and Louisville. The success, he said, was due to the overall patient care delivered by his team. “We managed most of the primary internal medicine issues of our patients, assuring compliance with their medications, diet and dialysis treatments,” Reed explained.
Reed has also held a special interest in medications related to dialysis and chronic kidney disease and has participated in more than 20 clinical trials. NA has a clinical research center conducting Phase 3 clinical trials. “We were able to help get good quality drugs approved that are making a difference in people’s lives today,” he said.
Reed has been a constant figure at Baptist Golden Triangle since he joined the medical staff in June 1976. He has been instrumental in helping the hospital receive many regional and national recognitions for quality and safety including the prestigious VHA Leadership for Clinical Excellence award in 2013. Baptist Golden Triangle was recognized as one of only 10 acute care hospitals larger than 250 beds in the United States and at that time, the only hospital in Mississippi to receive the distinction. The award honors hospitals for achieving national performance standards for all three leadership award categories; clinical quality, safety and patient experience.
“Dr. Reed has been a key leader to drive quality goals and physician satisfaction,” Cade said.
Reed has volunteered thousands of hours into community groups such as Good Samaritan Clinic; Camp Rising Sun; Golden Triangle Swim Team; First United Methodist Church; as a team physician for local schools and MSU; Pushmataha Area Council Boy Scouts of America board member and Cub Scout leader and many more.
Reed has also served on numerous hospital committees and in leadership positions including as chief of the hospital’s medical staff; chairman of the pharmacy and therapeutics committee for 27 years; director of the hospitalist program; and on the hospital’s executive board.
After 10 to 15 years on the medical staff, Reed said he saw how hard it was to recruit physicians to rural areas and realized the need for Baptist Golden Triangle to start an internal medicine residency program to help recruit young doctors to Columbus. With the strong support of hospital administration and working with other physicians on staff, he helped make that dream become a reality when the first class of residents officially started the three-year program in July 2017.
However, with everything he has accomplished professionally, he says, the community should appreciate the hospital, not him. “The hospital has really come to the forefront because of the hard work of the people here. I am very comfortable with the people I am handing my work off to. It has been a great 45-year ride. I’ve had lots of fun. I will miss my cohorts I see every day, but I will value their friendship for life.” Then, quickly placing his notes back in his folder he quietly added, “I just love this place, I really do.”