First tell us about you and your time at UMMC.
I was born and raised in Laurel, MS and went to Ole Miss for undergraduate. I was accepted into medical school with the class of 2002. During the first three years of medical school, I lived with Jay Brown from Bay Springs. If you know him, you know there was no chance I could out-study that guy. It was a blessing to live with him because his example probably got me through M1 and M2 years.
I married my beautiful wife, Lucy, during my fourth year and Jay kicked me out. I will never forget closing on our first house on match day. I completed internal medicine residency from 2002-2005 at UMMC and was lucky enough to be asked to do a chief resident year along with Ricky Johnston and Kellan Ashley. I like to say that I was the third smartest of the trio but out-fished both of them on the end of the year fishing trip.
Following that, I completed general and interventional cardiology fellowships at UMMC. I knew I wanted to do cardiology ever since learning cardiovascular physiology and attending Drs. Smith and McMullan’s M2 cardiology physical exam lectures in medical school. I still to this day consider Dr Mike McMullan a mentor, one of the reasons I chose cardiology and try to stay in touch with him as much as I can.
I am married to the former Lucy Gaston from Meridian and we have two daughters, Mary Gaston (17) and Milly (13). Currently, I spend my free time attending my daughters’ sports practices and games with a little leftover time for fishing, golf, going to the beach and attending Ole Miss sporting events. Hotty Toddy!
Where are you now and what are you doing?
After training, I took a position at Hattiesburg Clinic/Heart and Vascular in Hattiesburg, MS. I practice a combination of general and interventional cardiology with interest in complex coronary interventions, peripheral vascular disease, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, and sports cardiology. I also serve as the cardiologist for the University of Southern Mississippi athletics.
What do you miss most about UMMC?
I miss the friendships that I had through medical school, residency and fellowship. A lot of those people are my colleagues now and many others I still keep in touch with.
Share a memory or more of your time here at UMMC.
- Gross anatomy
- Eating red beans and rice at Methodist Rehab cafeteria on Mondays
- Parties at Robert Dews’ house in Belhaven
- Dr. Dreiling’s rounds
- Leading my first code on call and almost passing out from running up the stairs
- Doing clinic at the medical mall
- Griffith golf tournament
- Working in the AO at the VA, especially while my wife drove herself to the hospital the night my oldest daughter was born. Ouch…never lived that one down.
- Helping start up Dr. deShazo’s radio show Southern Remedy
- Realizing that part of being a chief resident was Giving Dr. Markov his B12 shots
- Chief resident fishing trip with Terry Jackson, Joe Files, Deanna Jackson, Vince Herrin, Kimberly Harkins
- Sharing an office in fellowship with Gaston Vergara, Javier Briseno, and Ben Blossom
- Doing complex interventions with John Winscott and Cameron Guild. Learning radial approach from Dr Woody at the VA
- Doing cardiology consult rounds with Dr. Bennett. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t hear his voice in my head telling me this is a “dangerous business”
- Spending long hours in the EP lab with Dr. Payne
- Learning about CHF from Dr. Moore and doing biopsies on transplant patients
- Learning to be a true professional from Dr. Winniford
- Learning to stay calm and collected under pressure from Dr. Skelton
- Learning how to do an hour long TEE with Dr. Fox
- Most importantly, I remember learning everything I know from each patient I saw and every attending, resident, and fellow I ever worked with. These memories I took with me when I left UMMC and I miss these people dearly. All in all, I spent 12 years at UMMC and wouldn’t change a thing about my training. I was well-prepared for all aspects of my practice because of my experience there.