Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Doug Harkins

First tell us about you and your time at UMMC.

I was born and raised in Jackson, MS, before going to Ole Miss for college. I was lucky enough to be accepted into medical school at UMMC and started my 11 year adventure there in the fall of 1992.  I promptly met and fell in love with my Gross Anatomy lab partner, Kimberly Gulledge, and eventually talked her into dating me during our M-2 year.  We married our M-4 year on Veteran’s Day 1995 so we could have a 2 day honeymoon in Natchez (thanks a lot Department of Family Medicine for all the time off). Kimberly and I matched together into the Internal Medicine program at UMMC in 1996, and eventually became the first husband-wife Chief Residents. She stayed on as faculty in the Internal Medicine Department and I started my fellowship in Cardiology in 2000. We were blessed with twins (Clare and Jacob) in 2001 and another son (Noah) in 2004. 

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I have been in Cardiology private practice in Jackson since finishing my fellowship in 2003.  I am currently with the Jackson Heart Clinic and have hospital privileges at St. Dominic.

What do you miss most about UMMC?

I really miss having a wise attending physician (especially Mike McMullan and Bernie Dreiling) and a team of other doctors to bounce ideas off of,  as well as corroborate (or correct) my thinking process. Two of the great things about private practice are the autonomy and efficiency you have when working by yourself; but, sometimes it is frightening when you are out there on your own.

Share a few memories of your time at UMMC.

  • I was blessed to train at UMMC when Giants still roamed the campus. I trained under legendary physicians such as Pat Lehan, Peter Blake, John Bower, Jim Achord, Joe Files, Tate Thigpen, Joe Norman, Jimmy Griffith, and Bernie Dreiling (still roaming!). Fortunately for me, most of these guys had mellowed a bit by the time I came along and rounds were not as malignant as in prior generations. I was always amazed at their knowledge but more so with their wisdom.
  • I will never forget Dr. Lehan telling me to “just do the right thing, and everything else will work itself out”.  I will also remember him smoking cigarettes in the cath lab during a joint commission visit.
  • How about my fear when I was assigned Dr Achord to do my witnessed H&P as an intern – gulp, still gives me nightmares.  
  • Morning rounds at 5 am in our 5 bed MICU with Dr Norman; and him not so gently waking my fellow intern up while I presented my patients. 
  • Kodachromes with Dr. Dreiling.
  • Chest X-rays with Griff.  
  • “Beer with Joe” – Dr. Files kept our Department together between the tenures of Dr. O’Connell and Dr. deShazo. (This also led to the Internal Medicine Wednesday afternoon tradition at Fenian’s pub).
  • My favorite social event in training was always the Department of Medicine golf tournament.  I am not sure how it is done now, but the Chief Residents were in charge of coordinating it when I was there. Kimberly and Suzanne Dater (our other chief) gladly let me handle it and I let them do their academic thing. One of the biggest challenges was arranging fair and competitive teams.  Well, anyone who knows Tate Thigpen, knows that he a very competitive person; and he let me know that he expected to have a good team. I put the best player in the field on his team so as not to incur the wrath of Tate. Unfortunately, my ringer bailed out at the last minute and his replacement (Dr. Qu) not only had never played golf before, but he had the nerve of unwrapping his newly purchased golf clubs in front of Dr. Thigpen on the first tee. To this day, Dr. Thigpen’s only recollection of me is that Chief Resident that screwed him over in the Medicine golf tournament.

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