Little did Betty Murray know when she volunteered during the Joplin tornado cleanup in summer 2011 as a medical student that she would return someday as a doctor.
She spent one weekend cleaning debris from yards a couple of months after the May 22 tornado, but she remembers driving by the destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Six years later, she’s back in Joplin as an internal medicine physician at Mercy Clinic Primary Care at 3126 Jackson Ave., less than a mile from the former hospital site.
After growing up in Valparaiso, Indiana, the classically trained pianist and violinist chose medicine over music as a career. In addition to enjoying science, particularly biology and chemistry, she liked being around people.
“Everybody has a unique story and there’s something you can learn from every person,” she said. “It makes every day interesting.”
Dr. Murray received a bachelor of science in biology from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, and a doctor of osteopathic medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in 2011. She completed an internal medicine residency in 2014 at University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia and is board certified.
“They’re probably my two best friends from medical school. I thought it’d be great to work with doctors I know,” she said. “I also like Mercy’s emphasis on the dignity of every person.”
Dr. Murray was drawn back to the Midwest to work and live in a smaller city after spending the previous three years in Fort Worth, Texas. Her husband, William Mountz, is a history professor at Missouri Southern State University. They have a daughter, 3-year-old Eloise. Dr. Murray is named after one of her grandmothers, while Eloise is named after the other grandmother.
It wasn’t until near the end of medical school that Dr. Murray decided to go into internal medicine.
“Internal medicine patients tend to have a lot of complicated and chronic medical issues,” she said. “I like trying to solve a lot of puzzles at one time.
“Osteopathic medical training emphasizes treating the whole person. Because many of the patients have multiple problems, I want to make them feel comfortable, ensure they understand all of their health conditions and don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Dr. Murray is accepting new patients at Mercy Clinic Primary Care, 3126 Jackson Ave., Suite 200. The phone number is 417-556-3465.