A group of pre-med students at the University of Arkansas learned more about what’s it’s like to be a medical student, resident and physician thanks to Dr. Jason Richey with Mercy Family Medicine – Paris.
Dr. Richey was the guest speaker during Alpha Epsilon Delta’s “Dinner with a Doctor” banquet on Oct. 3. The event was held at the Arkansas Union on the UofA campus in Fayetteville. The Q&A was moderated by Anna Claire Richey, senior at the UofA, officer with AED and Dr. Richey’s daughter. Students submitted their questions prior to the event, with Dr. Richey addressing each of them while explaining what life will be like for these future doctors as they graduate, move on to a residency program, and eventually become physicians.
One question focused on how to build and improve a resume during college, something Dr. Richey said often comes down to community service.
“Community service is a huge thing,” he said. “I don’t think it’s community service like you think – to me, it’s about serving your local community with your ideas, which you organize and decide to bring in your friends and classmates to help with. It’s your project. Not only are you a go-getter, but you’re an organizer.”
Dr. Richey is very much involved in community service his hometown of Paris, a town he was eager to return to once he completed his residency in Jonesboro in 1999. In addition to his role in primary care, he teaches classes at the Arkansas Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Arkansas Tech University – Ozark and works with Mercy’s residency program. He’s been known to dress up as both Elvis and Santa for various events in the community as well.
For Dr. Richey, treating patients in his hometown means treating friends and family. In fact, his very first patient in Paris was his fourth-grade teacher.
“I’ll see a patient when they were a kid, then I’ll see their kids. It makes me feel good because they trust me to see their kids, so obviously I’ve made an impression in their lives for them to say, ‘Hey, Dr. Richey’s OK. I’m going to bring my kid back to him,” he said. He added that he “could not be more blessed with the patients I have.”
Another question was about memorable experiences as a physician. Dr. Richey gave several examples, including when he helped save a child who was injured while jumping off a cliff. Years later, he was reunited with the patient when he brought in his own child for care.
“He said to his son, ‘This is the guy who saved Daddy’s life,’” Dr. Richey said. “That’s why I do medicine, right there. That’s been forever ago, but still, I get emotional because you want to save somebody; you want to make a difference.”
Dr. Richey serves as primary care physician with Mercy Family Medicine – Paris. In addition to Anna Claire, he and wife Tracy have two other daughters: Emily, a third-year medical student, and Maggie, a UofA freshman.