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Resident Spotlight - Kilby Osborn, MD

The road from rebellious teen to family medicine physician has been long and winding for Dr. Kilby Osborn. It included stops in a group home for boys and the Marine Corps. He even sold frozen food and insurance policies before choosing a career in medicine. “I think that my story is a testament to say that, whatever your circumstances, with hard work and perseverance there is the potential to change your life,” Osborn said.

After his relationship with his adoptive father deteriorated, Osborn ended up spending his high school years in a group home in Massachusetts. “I learned a lot being there,” he said. “I had great mentors. It helped me build a better relationship with my parents. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a situation, you can’t see past the end of your nose.”

He abandoned his teenage dreams of becoming a doctor when his high school guidance counselor told him he wasn’t smart enough to go to medical school.  Instead, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. “I was looking for a challenge,” Osborn said. “It was probably the best experience of my life, and it’s the reason I am where I am today. The Marines taught me discipline and responsibility and how to be part of a team.”

After his military service, Osborn took jobs selling insurance and Schwan’s frozen food in Pennsylvania while he planned how to take advantage of a full college scholarship thanks to his military service. A discussion with a physician about his early interest in medicine put him on a clear path.  “He told me medical school is not about being smart.  It’s about being driven. If you can do that in the Marines, you can do that in school.”

Osborn earned an undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University before excelling in medical school at Indiana University where he also earned a master’s degree in public health. “I like to use my interest in health policy to help shape healthcare locally,” Osborn said. “People talk all the time about policy on the federal level, but healthcare starts in your community with your neighbors having access to a physician.”

Osborn helped craft healthcare legislation as a medical student in Indiana, and he currently serves on a resident governing council with the Medical Association of Georgia. “I think it’s really important for young physicians to be involved in the policy side of medicine to make sure their voices are heard,” he said. “If they don’t advocate for their profession and their patients then the responsibility will be left up to others who don’t understand what they and their patients go through on a regular basis.”

Osborn was excited to join the Phoebe Family Medicine Residency. He was looking to move south and he wanted a program where he could get a lot of hands-on experience, but it was the people here who sold him on the program. “It was the interview process. I felt really at home with the residents who were already here, and I thought it was a place where I could make a difference,” he said.

Dr. Osborn should be back in uniform soon. He has applied to serve as a physician in the Army Reserves. “I feel that’s the best way I could give back to the military for all it’s given me,” he said.  After he finishes his residency, he hopes to open a clinic that will focus on the needs of boys and young men. “Not a whole lot is done to make sure they go to the doctor.  I’d like to open a clinic where I see patients from 11 to 20 years-old, especially males, to help them transition from being a child to an adult.” He knows that difficult road well, and a clinic to help young men make that transition successfully would be one more stop on Kilby Osborn’s extraordinary journey.