Poe joins Longest Student Health Center as newest staff physician

Dr. Katrina Poe at the Longest Student Health Center

Katrina Poe

A Mississippi State University alumna specializing in family medicine is the newest staff physician at the John C. Longest Student Health Center.

Dr. Katrina Poe, a Kilmichael native and long-serving doctor in her hometown, joined the Student Health Center staff at the beginning of August. Prior to coming to MSU, Poe spent 17 years working as a physician in the Montgomery County town.

“I feel like I’m back home again,” Poe said. “I always had a dream of possibly working in the Student Health Center at Mississippi State. It’s been nice to see a variety of patients. I’ve been able to see some faculty and private patients that are family members of faculty. When you go into each exam room, it’s something different. It keeps your mind fresh.”

With Poe now on staff as a full-time physician, the center can treat more primary care patients. In addition to serving MSU students and employees, the health center is open to those in the community.

Poe studied biological sciences at MSU and received her bachelor’s degree in 1992. She then studied at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she also completed her residency in family medicine. She said her time at MSU prepared her for the rigors of medical school, as she developed a support system that would help her get through medical school.

“[Former Biological Sciences Department Head] Dr. Donald Downer was my adviser in pre-med and he really encouraged me,” Poe said. “Both of my parents were factory workers, so sometimes I had gotten discouraged and didn’t know if I could do it. But he was always very encouraging. MSU was not only a chance to get a great education, but it truly prepared me for medical school.”

Poe said she likes to “veer into the road not taken” and create new pathways, which in turn creates new examples for others. When she began practicing in Kilmichael, she was the second female physician to serve the town. In 2005, she became the youngest, and the first African American physician to receive the Country Doctor of the Year award from Staff Care Incorporated. Now as she joins MSU, she is first female African American physician at the health center.

“I feel like my background can be an inspiration and encouragement to people,” Poe said. “Just because you’re from a small town doesn’t mean you can’t do big things. I know sometimes it can be hard when you may not have a family member that’s a doctor or lawyer to go down that avenue. Seeing somebody from a similar background can be encouraging.”

For more on the John C. Longest Student Health Center, visit www.health.msstate.edu/healthcenter or call 662-325-2431.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

James Carskadon | Public Affairs

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