Smith has returned to his hometown of Cleveland after spending his last few years in Jackson serving as PRN physician for MEA Medical Clinics and American Family Care Medical Clinics.
He has served as a member on several medical and philanthropic organizations. He has also been the recipient of several awards, his latest being the 2012 AMA-RFS Paul Ambrose Award for Leadership Among Resident Physicians.
Smith said that he has decided to move back to his hometown in order to set up his own practice, which will be his first practice since completing his training.
"What I would call my goals for working really just encompass my vision for what I want my practice to be," said Smith. "Family medicine meshed with what I thought a doctor should be, as a clinician and a member of a community, and being a small town doctor fulfilled a need to give back to a community for the material and status blessings it gives to physicians."
Smith also described an experience with a shoulder injury from playing football for Cleveland High, which he said encouraged his interest in studying sports medicine.
"At the time," said Smith, "there was a local orthopedist who evaluated me and diagnosed me with an injury that would eventually need surgery, but that 'could wait until after the season.' By the last week of the season, I could barely lift my arm to the shoulder and my mother and I decided to seek a second opinion. To do that, we waited a week on the orthopedic group from Jackson to come to town, where they diagnosed me with a nerve injury to my shoulder that could have potentially paralyzed my arm if injured again before healing."
"The realization that I had played for six weeks with an arm that could have been paralyzed for life honestly scared me to death, and that realization planted a burning desire in me to not let another kid in my hometown take that risk, to be misinformed and because of it be in danger of an injury that can affect the rest of their life," said Smith.
That inspiration has brought Smith a long way, as he aspires to further the advancement of medical care in the Delta and establish a family medicine residency program in the future.
"We know that residency program location is a huge driver for eventual practice location for young physicians," said Smith, "so establishing a residency here will help serve the needs of the community be helping to boost the physician population as well as training physicians in an environment where they can see the challenges that face this population on a daily basis and let those experiences mold their educational experience."
Though Smith knows that he has a long road ahead of him and the challenges he will face will be difficult, he said that it is those difficulties that tend to make his career the most worthwhile.
"For me the most difficult experiences in medicine are the most rewarding, and that’s delivering bad news," said Smith. “Telling a family that Grandma probably won’t make it to the morning, that this condition probably isn’t going to get better, or that their son or daughter is going to need surgery to fix this injury are easily the hardest conversations to have.
"But being able to have that conversation in a meaningful manner that helps the patient and their family understand and cope with what are life-changing experiences… That to me is the difference in being a physician and being 'someone’s doctor.'"