Group of people smiling before a ribbon cutting.
Celebrating the opening of a new Children's of Mississippi specialty clinic in Meridian are, from left, Dr. John Purvis, UMMC pediatric orthopaedist; Archie McDonnell, East Mississippi Business Development Corp. board chair; Percy Bland, Meridian mayor; Dr. Joe Anderson, Anderson Regional Health System board chairman; Dr. Guy Giesecke, Children's of Mississippi CEO; John Anderson, Anderson president and CEO; Anna Armstrong, John Anderson's granddaughter; Jonathan Wells, Lauderdale County supervisor; Dr. Mary Taylor, UMMC chair of pediatrics; Dr. Deanna Price, Meridian pediatrician; Keith Parker, Children's of Mississippi director of ambulatory operations; Karen Dowling, Children's of Mississippi chief ambulatory operations officer; and Dr. Christopher Blewett, Children's of Mississippi chief of surgery.
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UMMC-Anderson collaboration brings specialty peds care closer to Meridian-area patients

Published on Thursday, February 21, 2019

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Expert specialty pediatric care is closer to home for children and families in the Meridian area, thanks to a collaborative effort between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Anderson Regional Health System.

Leaders in medicine, business and government cut the ribbon on a new Children’s of Mississippi specialty clinic adjacent to Meridian’s Anderson Regional Medical Center during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

 “This is a celebration of the fearfully and wonderfully made,” said John Anderson, president and CEO of Anderson Regional Health System. The clinic, he said, is the result of two years of collaboration with UMMC and Children’s of Mississippi, the branch of UMMC that includes all pediatric care including Batson Children’s Hospital.

Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi, said putting specialty care within reach of families in the Meridian and Lauderdale County area is part of the organization’s vision of helping children in the state reach their full potential.

“Children’s of Mississippi caregivers value the trust families place in us, and we are honored to work with Anderson Regional Health System to bring the best in specialty care to Meridian and the surrounding community.”

Children's of Mississippi CEO Guy Giesecke speaks to attendees at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Meridian specialty clinic
Giesecke speaks to attendees of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Meridian specialty clinic, including, from left, John Anderson, McDonnell, Price, Bland, Wells, Taylor and Dowling.

Children’s of Mississippi pediatric specialists in orthopaedics, neurology and urology began caring for patients at the Meridian clinic in late 2018. Additional specialties to be added this year include cardiology, hematology/oncology, child development, genetics, endocrinology, general surgery and psychiatry.

One of the patients soon to be receiving care at the clinic is Anna Armstrong, Anderson’s 5-year-old granddaughter. She’ll be seeing Dr. Onyekachukwu Osakwe when pediatric cardiology is available at the clinic next month.

Nurse Ashley Hester gives Children's of Mississippi patient Sybil Cumberland a tour of the new Meridian specialty clinic.
Nurse Ashley Hester gives Children's of Mississippi patient Sybil Cumberland a tour of the new Meridian specialty clinic.

“Having cardiology care so close to home will be convenient,” said Anna’s mother, Kristen Armstrong. “It’s wonderful that this will be offered here in Meridian.”

Dr. Joe Anderson, chairman of Anderson’s board of directors, agreed. “This virtually guarantees better health care for our children,” he said.

Meridian Mayor Percy Bland welcomed Children’s of Mississippi specialists to the city. “The heart and soul of our city is the delivery of health care,” he said. “I’ve been up and down I-20 many times to see children of friends and family at Batson Children’s Hospital, and the care there is second to none.”

Health care, said Archie McDonnell, president of the East Mississippi Business Development Corp., “is a huge part of the regional economy. We are excited about the affiliation of Anderson Regional Health System and UMMC and what this brings to the region.”

Dr. Deanna Price, a Meridian pediatrician, speaks on the importance of having Children's of Mississippi specialty care close to home.
Price speaks on the importance of having Children's of Mississippi specialty care close to home.

Anderson Regional Children’s Clinic pediatrician Dr. Deanna Price, who earned her medical degree at UMMC, welcomed the clinic not only as a physician but as “the mother of a child with chronic health care needs.”

“Traveling out of town for care means taking time off work,” she said. “Having this care available closer to home will make life easier for patients and their parents.”

The clinic, at 1516 23rd Ave., is staffed by nurse Ashley Hester and medical office assistants Hayleigh Gardner and Karen Auton, with orthopaedist Dr. John Purvis and neurologists Dr. Tarif Bakdash and Muhammad Ubaidulhaq currently offering clinics each month.

“We care for children from Meridian every day,” Purvis said of Children’s of Mississippi and Batson Children’s Hospital. “It is a privilege to bring that care into the Meridian community.”