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PPMH Welcomes New Chief Medical Officer

Albany, GA | July 12, 2023 – Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s new Chief Medical Officer was just six years old when he knew he would grow up to become a doctor.  Dr. Jason Smith’s early interest in medicine was inspired by his maternal grandparents. “They both had a number of chronic health issues and spent time in the hospital. I would visit them in the hospital, and I just wanted to be able to help them and people like them have better health and live longer lives,” Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith was born and raised in Douglasville, GA and stayed in the state for college and medical school, attending Mercer University and the Medical College of Georgia. After completing a family medicine residency program in South Carolina, Dr. Smith began his career at Tanner Health System in northwest Georgia. “I practiced in Tallapoosa and was an attending physician at the hospital in Breman where my grandparents had both been treated, so it kind of came back full circle,” he said.

After six years with Tanner, he and his wife Gayle moved to Mitchell County where he worked at the local hospital and nursing home, as well as a primary care clinic. For the last eight years, Dr. Smith served as a chief medical officer, first at a hospital in Wisconsin and more recently at St. Mary’s Health System in Athens, GA. He’s excited to take on that same role at Phoebe’s flagship hospital.

“Basically, my role as CMO is to work with the physicians and the administration as well as Dr. Dianna Grant, the health system CMO, to ensure we’re providing the highest quality and safest care possible to our patients,” Dr. Smith said. He added that he’ll be an advocate for all members of the medical staff, not just physicians employed by Phoebe.

“I want to help provide resources that physicians might need to make their jobs easier, faster or safer.  And I want to make sure that any physician who comes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital or whose patients come here have a resource to provide feedback. I want to know what did we do right, where can we improve and how can we work better with those physicians to improve our care and provide the healthcare services that the community wants and needs.”

Having previously worked in southwest Georgia, Dr. Smith said he is keenly aware of the breadth of services and quality of care Phoebe provides, and he is impressed that Phoebe continues to grow at a time when many health systems around the country are contracting services and laying off employees.

“Phoebe continues to put dollars back into its people and its community, and that’s a rare occurrence.  Times are tough, but we’re looking toward the next hundred years.  We’re not looking at the balance sheet for tomorrow.  We want to grow in a way that ensures we can provide what the people we serve need and what they put us here to provide,” he said.

Dr. Smith and his wife did not sell their home in southwest Georgia when they left the region. They planned to return here in retirement, but they were excited to move back sooner than expected.

“The opportunity to assist the providers here in really showing the community that Phoebe can take that next step and be the highest quality healthcare provider in Georgia was just too good to pass up,” Dr. Smith said.  “And while the opportunity to move into my retirement home at this time was unforeseen, we’re very happy to do it, and we don’t plan to make another move.”