Fellow Focus: Dr. Garner Bell

Get to know Garner Bell, PGY-V hematology/oncology fellow, Hattiesburg native, and Formula 1 fan.

First, tell us about you.

I am a second year hematology/oncology fellow here at UMMC. I am originally from Hattiesburg just south of here. I did medical school at William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine. I did medicine residency at Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc, MI (in between Flint and Detroit, but closer to Flint).  My wife, Ivey, and I got married November of my intern year in 2017. A few months later we got ourselves a mini goldendoodle, Ember. We now have a little girl named Millicent Marie who was born on Father’s Day in 2021. When I have spare time, I really enjoy fly fishing, playing my guitars, and shooting sporting clays!  I tend to nerd out over anything Marvel/Star Wars/Formula 1. 

How did you know you wanted to pursue Hematology/Oncology?

When I was in college, I had a bit of a quarter life existential crisis (as one does). While I was trying to find the direction my life was headed, I took a class on Cancer Biology. This class directed me back into medicine. I found every ounce of this class fascinating. Once I entered medical school, I tried to keep an open mind in regards to the specialty I would enter. In my second year, Hematology/Oncology was my best block. I found it challenging but also easy to study. It didn’t feel like as much of a grind as I was used to. At the beginning of my third year, I did a rotation in Hematology/Oncology. I loved every second of it. Again, I found it easy to study. It was interesting from top to bottom. So, heme/onc was something I just kept coming back to because I loved it so much. In the end, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. 

What do you like most about UMMC?

The people. I would like to have some fun/new insight to this question, but it is a repeated answer for a reason. Every specialty is quite accommodating and great to work with. It provides a wonderful atmosphere to care for patients. I think that it does wonders for patient care here. I have been especially blessed with wonderful attendings/co-fellows. I have had quite the year with becoming a dad, illnesses in the family, and most recently a traumatic event that had rendered me out of working capacity for a bit. I was overwhelmed with the support and assistance provided by everyone. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough. 

What advice would you give to the interns?

I have a hard time with wanting to be absolutely perfect. I had to wrestle with this my intern year. I often tell the interns that their job is to learn, not to know everything. Measure your day’s success not by how many questions you get right on rounds but rather by how much you learn. If you work on being a better doctor today than you were yesterday, then you will find yourself on the right path

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on without preparation?

Honestly? Right now, probably Formula 1. It has been a bit of a black hole for me. You can often see me wearing a racing polo on Fridays. 

What is something you wish you knew more about?

I tend to be quite curious about most everything. It is just the way I am. So the answer to this question changes multiple times per day. For instance, today I wish I knew more about lawn maintenance. My poor yard never seems to do well, and I have tried lots of things to fix it. Nothing thus far has worked. 

What are some small things that make your day better?

Most days, music makes my day better. It serves almost as an emotional reset for me. 

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.

Well back in the glory days, I kicked a 62 yard field goal (I have video proof of a 55 yarder), ran a 4.5 second 40 yard dash, and there is a video of me somewhere jumping from standing on a box 50 inches tall. 

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