Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Paul Pierce

Tell us about you and your time at UMMC. 

I was born in Jackson, Mississippi while my father was in medical school. When he finished his residency, we moved to Vicksburg in 1975. After graduation from high school, I went to Sewanee, where I played football, ran track, and never went to class. I transferred to Ole Miss, graduated, and finished a masters degree in Combined Sciences at Mississippi College. Before starting medical school, on July 1, 1995, I married my high school sweetheart Jill. We have three fantastic children: Will (22), Jake (20), and Sarah Jane (18).

I started medical school at UMMC in 1995, graduated in 1999 and matched in internal medicine residency there. Going through medical school, I always thought that I would finish internal medicine and come back to Vicksburg, where my father was (and still is) practicing internal medicine. However, some cardiology rotations with Dr. Ken Bennett and Joe Adams changed that. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a chief resident, which gave me another few months to think about it, and enjoying the procedural aspect of cardiology, that’s what I decided to do. I couldn’t have done any of it without Jill, who supported the family both emotionally and financially during medical school, residency, and fellowship. She’s the absolute best. During the early portion of my cardiology fellowship, an interventional program was developed, and I was in the second interventional cardiology fellowship class at University, finishing in 2007.

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I’m currently practicing interventional cardiology in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I’ve been here since I finished interventional fellowship in 2007. I always knew I would come back to Vicksburg to practice. Both my wife and I are from Vicksburg, and it’s generally an underserved area. I enjoy the variety of procedures that I am able to perform, from coronary angiography and routine/high risk intervention to lower extremity angiography and intervention, AAA repair, pacemaker and ICD implantation and so forth. I enjoy working with my father (Bill Pierce) and my brother (Sam Pierce), both of whom finished medical school and residency at UMMC and practice internal medicine here in Vicksburg.

What do you miss most about UMMC?

The camaraderie with classmates, residents, and fellows. The time I spent at UMMC was well worth it and I don’t believe I could have gotten better training or attending supervision anywhere in the country. 

Share a memory or more of your time here at UMMC.

Lots to choose from: 

Being in physiology class during Dr. Guyton’s last classes. 

Having the transfer pager as a chief resident BEFORE tort reform. 

Golfing with Dr. Swink Hicks.

Rounding at the table with Dr. Dreiling during rotations at the VA. 

Working the AO at the VA.

My first weekend of cardiology call with Billy Crowder as “back up.”

Cardiology consult and ward months with Dr. Bennett.

Dr. Winniford, in cardiology conference, telling me most guys don’t look good with their head shaved but that somehow I pulled it off. I said thank you. It was my last year of cardiology fellowship and, at the time, was the longest conversation we had held.

A guy stealing a nurse’s purse in the Heart Station and Dr. Moore giving him an educational beatdown.

Impossible interventions with Dr. McMullan. 

I am beyond grateful to those people and so many more. UMMC is a special place to me and I am thankful to have spent 12 fantastic years there. I never once got out of bed dreading having to go to work and that speaks volumes.

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