Choosing Greenville

A few days ago, a patient came to my office. For a physician here, this is not a remarkable event. She was referred by a friend from the region. Like many other patients, she was obtaining wonderful service from some of our caring colleagues, but she just wanted a little reassurance. She chose to come to Greenville.

We have called Greenville and eastern North Carolina our home for some time. Like many, we chose eastern North Carolina and Greenville decades ago. Of course, many families have made this region their home for generations. There is nothing conceptually new here, even the idea that we may sometimes take our privilege for granted.

Today is “Match Day,” and we will be celebrating with “the Best of Brody” as our medical school graduates find out where they will be going to complete their specialty training. This is happening all over the nation, and you will likely hear much more in the media about these anxiously awaited — and finally — joyous events.

Not unexpectedly, a large proportion of our students will be joining us right here at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and the Brody School of Medicine to do their residencies. In fact, 15 (23 percent) of the graduating physicians will stay with us. Another 16 will also stay in North Carolina –- a total of 47 percent of our graduating class. These numbers have been increasing in recent years and are an objective marker for us achieving our mission. Our students are some of the brightest who exist, and many choose to stay in Greenville, eastern North Carolina and the state.

Now, what I am also recognizing is that there are more individuals who are seeking us — not just from the region but from all over the country and the world. Highly accomplished students from other schools and faculty physicians, born and trained elsewhere, are recognizing the unique opportunities that exist in our environment. These individuals have all enjoyed success in other major medical centers across the nation, and now they want to join with us to make Greenville their home. Given our still unmet need for health care services in our region, we consider this a positive development.

The great majority of us have choices as to where we can go and where we can provide medical care to others. The medical profession clearly offers this sort of wonderful flexibility. However, the subtle message here is that right in our own back yard, we are now more recognized on the national medical map. It is much more than just a state of default, then, to live, work and come from eastern North Carolina and Greenville. It is clear that it is becoming even more of a good place to call home.

Best regards,


One comment

  • Chuck Willson MD

    Dr. Cunningham makes a strong point that eastern North Carolina is indeed a fine place to praactice medicine and teach our future doctors. I suspect that all of our faculty at Brody SOM could find jobs almost anywhere else in our country but we stay here because we can make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. An observation I make every year in the Pediatric Cliinic in July is that the new pediatric residents who attended our medical school are the always the best prepared of the group. When I attend meetings of the North Carolina Medical Society and the AMA, Brody SOM students are there debating health policy and professionalism.
    The annual match event is a fitting time to celebrate our successes and re-commit to improving health care in our region, and beyond.

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