Heartland doctor to receive Physician of Excellence Award

Heartland doctor to receive Physician of Excellence Award
A southern Illinois doctor will receive the Physician of Excellence Award. (Source: Sih)

HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - A board-certified family practice physician at SIH Logan Primary Care Herrin, Dr. Jeffrey Parks, will receive the Physician of Excellence Award from the Illinois Rural Health Association.

There will be a ceremony at his practice on Oct. 30.

According to longtime colleague and friend, Kevin Oestmann, MD, the name of the award speaks for itself.

“Excellent” is just one word Dr. Oestmann used to describe the man he has known for well over 30 years.

“As a colleague, he’s top notch,” said Dr. Oestmann. “He is an excellent physician. He’s concerned about his patients; they are his number one priority.”

Dr. Oestmann stated Dr. Parks has always wanted to be a part of anything that drives patient quality and care.

“He’s level-headed and easy to work with, always willing to listen to alternatives. I couldn’t think of anybody more qualified to be named Physician of Excellence.”
Dr. Oestmann

Dr. Parks grew up in Johnston City. He attended Southern Illinois University. He had an interest in science and math.

Dr. Parks said his admiration for his family doctor, the late Dr. John Tidwell of Herrin, influenced him to become a doctor.

“I always thought it was something I would enjoy doing, I started by taking one course at a time and the further I got, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it. I loved SIU. It was a place for personal growth for me. I applied to medical school and they accepted me . . . and there you go.”
Dr. Parks

Executive Director of the Illinois Rural Health Association Margaret Vaughn said one of the biggest healthcare challenges across the nation is the shortage of physicians who practice in rural settings.

“IRHA feels it is important to recognize those who have accepted this calling and gone out of their way to make an impact," Vaughn said. "Dr. Parks’ dedication to the community over the past 36 years, as well as his strong compassion and advocacy for his geriatric patients, made him an excellent choice for our Physician of Excellence Award,”

SIH Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Marci Moore-Connelley, MD, agreed.

“Dr. Parks has been practicing medicine, leading change and impacting the lives of patients throughout Southern Illinois for many years. Through his leadership, he has facilitated many programs within the clinic, skilled nursing facilities and communities that improve the lives of those in the area. He is a mentor to those that are lucky enough to get to work with him and see how he brings a team together and how he approaches the practice of medicine,”
Dr. Moore-Connelley.

Dr. Parks and Sherrie, his wife, have two children, Elizabeth and Scott.

Elizabeth followed in her father’s footsteps. She works as a physician’s assistant alongside him at SIH Logan Primary Care.

As a young child, Elizabeth said her father’s compassion for others fueled her desire to work in healthcare.

“I have had many opportunities to hear from the public when out at restaurants or other locations of how he has helped them or their families, and it impressed upon me that caring for others is the highest calling one can achieve. He has always managed to find time to lend a listening ear or provide assistance through visits at the nursing homes, the office, and even houses of the patients. His sympathy, coupled with his strong work ethic, have deeply influenced me and my brother for our careers.”

Dr. Parks shows the same ethic in his mission endeavors.

“My first trip to West Africa was mostly out of curiosity,” he said. “I had friends who had gone and I thought that might be something I’d like to do. I got there and I was confronted with hopelessness.”

Dr. Parks compared what he saw to the hardships from the novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

“This was something even a person like me could help with.”

Dr. Parks said he is very appreciative of the award and said providing help to his patients is the thing he has enjoyed the most over the last three decades – some of them he has been seeing during his entire medical career.

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