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Chief medical officer is a newer role with broader responsibilities for Dr. Shawn Usery. But the promotion about a year ago really is a culmination of his career in medicine and his advanced educational studies.
Usery had worked for six years as an assistant medical director for CoxHealth and as an urgent care physician for two years prior. The chief medical officer position moved him to the Cox Medical Center Branson, where he oversees the medical staff and clinical processes.
Usery views his administrative role similar to giving direct patient care – but on a broader level.
“The difference is I am not taking a single patient and making them better but working to take a community of patients and improve their health and well-being,” he says.
He continues to see patients as a member of the hospital medicine team.
“I find that serving my patients is also incredibly rewarding and energizing for me,” he says.
“I get to take a patient and their family from acute illness at time of admission to the hospital all the way through to the patient being discharged home.”
Simon Wajnblom, CoxHealth’s vice president of performance management, has taken notice.
“He can frequently be seen sitting at the bedside with his patients and their families, going over care and treatment plans, explaining medical conditions and advising on medications,” he says of Usery.
Usery began his professional career at CoxHealth Urgent Care in 2009, upon completing an internship with Cox Family Medicine Residency. After finishing his undergraduate studies at Drury University in 2004, he returned to the school in 2016 to earn an MBA.
He’s challenged himself to address care gaps in rural communities.
“I have worked to identify areas of health care need in rural Missouri and find solutions to fill these needs,” he says, pointing to creation of an inpatient tele-psychiatry program in Stone and Taney counties, as well as high-risk obstetric care and neonatology to areas outside of Springfield.
“Before we were able to offer this service, we had to send patients to other areas of the state for psychiatric care,” Usery says, “sometimes as far away as St. Louis or Kansas City. Having a psychiatrist who can take care of acutely ill psychiatric patients, while keeping them close to their support structure, is a huge win.”
Usery takes mentorship seriously and his efforts cross over between his medical work and community service.
“I mentor college students to help them understand the impact that they can have on their community through health care as well as expose them to the breadth and depth of health care careers,” says Usery, also a mentor at the high school level through the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies, aka GO CAPS. “This year, I am starting to work with the public school system to bring a mini medical school experience to elementary students. My hope is that these efforts inspire future generations to continue to provide for the health of our communities.”
The nonprofit moves into its new campus.