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New member of Oaklawn's OB/GYN team regards compassion as vital

 

MARSHALL – JT Thomas remembers several adventures his family experienced in their world travels while Thomas’ father served as an executive accountant with a pharmaceutical company.

“When we lived in Iran, we were there during the fall of the shah in 1978, and we had to flee for our lives,” he said.

But a specific, life-changing epiphany came in Athens, Greece, when the boy was 13 and he contracted hepatitis from contaminated food.

“I was hospitalized for two weeks,” he said. “And I developed a strong bond with my physician.”

The boy was profoundly influenced by the doctor’s expression of love and compassion as he tended to the disease, and young JT realized the medical field was a powerful way to affect others positively.

As a result, Thomas now is a medical doctor with 21 years of experience, and has joined the Oaklawn Medical Group as part of the organization’s OB/GYN team.

“I went into medicine because it was a great combination of my scientific skills and a desire to care for people,” Thomas said. “I see it as a ministry, to reach out to people in their time of need, a bridge for them to better health and to take ownership of their health.”

Through a faith-based outreach effort, Thomas eventually would come to work with impoverished residents of India and the Dominican Republic, focusing on education, relationship-building and community services.

Although the majority of Thomas’ career has been in private practice in the United States, his travels also have taken him to Europe, as well as places in Asia and Africa that included “places where one could see how lacking health care was,” he said.

A Battle Creek resident for two years, Thomas most recently served as an OB/GYN physician at Battle Creek-based Grace Health Center, a federally qualified health center serving Medicaid and underserved patients.

“I really value that one-on-one relationship with a patient, getting to know each other over time,” Thomas said. “The best medical relationships are partnerships with the patient.”

Thomas has a lengthy background in volunteerism with youth, having gained considerable experience while in Tennessee with a high school mentoring ministry called Young Life.

“We’ve found Dr. Thomas to be an extremely pleasant, helpful, charming and highly professional physician, and we’re very pleased that he has become part of the Oaklawn team,” said Mark Montross, Executive Director of the medical group.

Thomas and his wife of 14 years, Annie, have four children – Hudson, MaryKate, Ava and Bennett.

Thomas is a competitive tennis player at the Minges Creek Tennis league and a lifelong guitar enthusiast “in the eternal pursuit of playing like Eric Clapton,” he said. He enjoys community speaking for educational purposes, and is a frequent speaker on pharmaceutical subjects.

Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1990, received his medical doctor’s degree in 1995 from Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and completed his OB/GYN residency at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn in 1999.

At Grace Health Center, Thomas was involved in the management of a broad spectrum of high-risk obstetrics and gynecological patients.

Thomas also served as director of Women’s Health Services at Christ Community Medical Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., and in various medical capacities at Cool Springs Women’s Care, P.C., and Heritage Medical Associates P.C., both in Franklin, Tenn.

While working in Franklin, Tenn., Heritage Medical Associates rated Thomas’ patient satisfaction rate at more than 93 percent, and in 2011 he was voted as one of Nashville’s top OB/GYNs by medical peers in the Nashville Business Journal.

Thomas is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is board certified in obstetrics/gynecology. He has had extensive experience in minimally invasive surgery with traditional laparoscopy and da Vinci robot-assisted laparoscopy.

Thomas will work out of the offices of Marshall Internal & Family Medicine at 720 Old U.S. 27 North, as well as Oaklawn’s offices at 14231 Beadle Lake Rd, Battle Creek and 300 B Drive North, Albion. Appointments may be made by calling (269) 781-6600.