I am committed to providing holistic, compassionate, patient-centered care for patients and families confronting neurological illness, especially epilepsy. I recognize that while seizure control is the main goal of treatment, epilepsy is a complex illness that touches every aspect of life. Quality of life is paramount. I believe that mindfulness and compassion are the cornerstones of effective management of chronic illness.
I was born and raised in Opelika, a small town in east Alabama. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, graduating cum laude from Auburn University (sorry Duck fans) in 1977. My clinical career actually begin in 1974 when I began working as a nursing assistant in the same hospital I was born in and where I continued to work full time until my graduation. At Auburn I was in the marching band, sitting second chair first trumpets. I then attended Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta on a military scholarship. I started my post-graduate training as a psychiatry intern at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC but changed to neurology, graduating in 1985. I was a solo neurologist at Ft. Benning, GA after graduation for 3 years. I became interested in epilepsy as a result of taking care of patient's with medically refractory at Ft. Benning. I was encouraged to pursue additional training in EEG and Epilepsy by Dr. J. Kiffin Penry, who was then a dean at Wake Forest and was the former founder of the epilepsy branch at the National Institutes of Health. I returned to Walter Reed to do my fellowship in 1988. As a fellow I spent half the year at NIH working with Susumo Sato and William Theodore in the clinical center. I was also centrally involved in starting a epilepsy surgery program at Walter Reed. For this I was awarded the Erskine Graves Award for the outstanding graduating fellow in 1989. After fellowship I was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma, WA where I fell in love with the pacific northwest. At Madigan I was able to establish a dedicated epilepsy monitoring unit and sleep lab. In addition, I was involved in starting the neurology residency there and acted as assistant chief of neurology, director of EEG and Sleep and deputy residency director. When I retired from the Army in 1998 I was awarded the Legion of Merit, the highest award given to uniformed service members in peacetime. I was then faculty at the University of Alabama Birmingham where I divided my time between the Epilepsy Center and Sleep Center. I left academics and pursued private and group practice opportunities. In 2005 I was selected to Best Doctors. In 2012 I entered a new phase of my career when I enrolled in the fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. This is the program founded by Andrew Weil MD and is a 2-year, 1000 contact hour distance learning fellowship with 3 weeks in residence in Tucson. I feel this experience has broadened my perspective on what constitutes health and healing. It has reinvigorated my passion for patient care.