A year ago, Dr. Barbara Bumberry was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I think some individuals were surprised that I, a doctor, got cancer,” says Bumberry, a clinic physician. “But cancer doesn’t discriminate.”
During her treatment – surgery and six weeks of radiation – she was determined to stay positive and continue on with as much normalcy as possible. It paid off. Today, Bumberry is cancer-free.
“I can use that experience when I’m talking with my own cancer patients,” she says. “By sharing my experience, it gives me more persuasion when talking to women about the importance of getting regular mammograms.”
Bumberry has worked as a physician at the same Mercy family medicine clinic, HealthTracks, for the last 22 years.
“I’ve watched my young patients grow up, start families of their own and allow me to continue to provide their care,” Bumberry says.
She’s also served as the medical director for the Missouri State University Care Clinic since 2015. The clinic is a collaboration with Mercy that provides free medical care to adults who don’t have health insurance.
“When I was first asked if I would be interested in the position, I immediately said no, but I would continue to volunteer seeing patients at the clinic,” Bumberry says. “It was my brother, John, who changed my mind. He said he thought it would be a perfect fit for me, since I had earned a master’s in public health from MSU a few years prior.”
Now, the position is the professional accomplishment she’s most proud of.
“It gives me the opportunity to work with a wonderful staff who provide care to a population that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten,” Bumberry says. “Working at the Care Clinic is a way to give back to the community that has given me much support throughout the years.”
In addition to her regular work, Bumberry has served on a number of committees at Mercy, including the Force for Good committee.
“Every year, we raise funds to donate to different charities in the community, and this year we reached the mark of over $2 million donated,” she says.
Bumberry also has a love for teaching. She’s served as a preceptor for University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, MSU’s Department of Nurse Practitioners Studies and MSU’s Department of Athletic Training. She’s even worked with the occasional high-school student.
“I have students rotating in my office throughout most of the year,” Bumberry says. “No matter what profession we’re in, we can only learn so much from textbooks.”
For one, learning to communicate effectively and compassionately, with people from different backgrounds, is often not learned in school. Instead, it’s a lesson Bumberry likes to teach.
“You never know what a person’s story is or how they ended up where they are in life, so it’s important to treat everyone as if they were a member of your own family,” she explains.
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