Harry Strothers III, MD, MMM
“I get satisfaction out of facilitating my patient’s ability to be as healthy as possible.”
As chair of the Morehouse School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine, Dr. Harry Strothers has seen, healed, managed, and researched a wide spectrum of health issues. From caring for newborns to advancing the state of geriatric medicine; from attending to individuals to meeting the needs of multiple generations within a family, Dr. Strothers’ impact on the health and lives of Atlantans has been immeasurable.
Why did you decide to become a physician?
There were two reasons. The first is the fact that my mother is a retired registered nurse, and growing up I was able to see up close how she used her skill and training to help people. The second reason was witnessing my grandfather’s death from a subdural hematoma (bleeding outside the brain caused by a severe head injury)—or more specifically, from not receiving the appropriate care for it. From these experiences, I wanted to see what I could do to make sure people who were traditionally underserved by the medical system got the care they needed.
What brought you to Morehouse Healthcare?
After medical school, I served in the National Health Service Corps at health centers serving rural and senior populations in South Carolina. During that time, I also taught part-time at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, and then joined the Morehouse School of Medicine faculty and Morehouse Healthcare in 1994. The mission of the institution perfectly matched what I wanted to accomplish in my career. Not only helping underserved populations, but also teaching students and scientists to be engaged with these communities.
What is your specific area of interest within your specialty?
My special project is called the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). It’s a program that’s changing the way private care is handled. The program takes care of the whole person by facilitating partnerships between patients, their doctors and the patient’s family. If a patient needs surgery, the program makes the appropriate arrangements with a surgeon. If a referral is needed, PCMH would coordinate with a specialist, making sure the loop is closed. This allows for a more holistic, more coordinated, and more effective health care experience.
Another component of the program is advancing preventive care. In the past, if you were a diabetic and you didn’t show up for your hemoglobin A1c test, it would be chalked up to a missed appointment and you didn’t get the care. With PCMH, once you’re a patient, you’ll be tracked and reminded to get your blood sugar checked regularly. Same thing goes for immunizations and other components of preventive care.
What do you enjoy most about your practice?
Simply interacting with families. I have a number of families where I see multiple people under one roof and, sometimes, up to three generations of people. I get satisfaction out of facilitating my patient’s ability to be as healthy as possible. Not just taking care of illnesses and disease but taking preventive measures and supporting optimal wellness.
In what ways has Morehouse Healthcare evolved during your tenure?
MHC has grown tremendously since I first started my association with the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1994. One of the most important developments has been the use of electronic health records. The things we do with PCMH would be extremely difficult to do with paper records. In addition, we have become much more sophisticated at managing medications and identifying medication interactions before prescribing them. Furthermore, offering a more comprehensive range of care over the years, especially in primary care, has also been a major advance.
How is Morehouse Healthcare unique among medical practices in the area?
We are especially attuned to the issues and problems of our patient population. We’re always looking to improve the care we deliver—always. In addition to applying new medical science to our treatment, we also seek out ways to enhance the delivery and accessibility of our care.
Any outside interests/hobbies?
I enjoy photography. I’ve been a photographer since high school. I also sing in the choir of my church. In addition, I serve as Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians. The combination of all these things fills up my time pretty well.