When Bob Franklin was just a boy growing up in rural North Carolina, he learned early and first-hand the true measure of a dedicated family doctor.
The only child of Ray and Louise Franklin, Bob became very ill one evening with severe abdominal pain, a fever of 105-106, and shaking chills, but the family had no means of transportation to the hospital. On learning of his illness, their family doctor, Heywood Smith, M.D., came to their home at 11 p.m. to see what he could do for Bob. Fearing the child might have appendicitis, Dr. Smith drove him to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Bob recovered from this episode but was left with a lasting impression of his family doctor, who became a model and inspiration for Bob. After that, I thought it would be good to go into medicine, Dr. Franklin explains. It was inspiring to have a doctor who cared so much about my family.
Bob never wavered in his early decision to become a family doctor. The first step on this path was to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bob’s first priority was always education, but he also found time for diversions: intramural football and basketball, religious organizations such as Navigators and Intervarsity, and church activities, which he says have always been an important part of his life.
After college, Bob was offered one of only 15 scholarships from the North Carolina Board of Governors for students who wanted to become family physicians and work in North Carolina. The scholarship seemed tailor-made for Bob. I already wanted to be a family doctor like Dr. Smith, he says, and I had always intended to practice in North Carolina. So without a second thought, he accepted the scholarship and headed for Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In early 1979 while in medical school, Bob met Mary Ellen, a physical therapist, at the hospital where she worked. When it came time for Bob to choose where he would like to do his internship and residency, Mary Ellen was a major consideration. In the matching process, during which a medical students preferred location for internship and residency is matched with available programs, Bob listed the University of Kentucky in Lexington because it is situated roughly halfway between her hometown in Indiana and his in North Carolina. I thought we would eventually marry, so my first choice was UK because I thought it would be more enticing for her to make that move, he explains. Fortunately, he matched with UK, and when the couple married in December of 1980, they settled in Lexington, where Bob would finish his medical education.
When Dr. Franklin finished his residency in 1983, Mary Ellen was working on her doctorate in exercise physiology. For the next two years, while she completed the program, Dr. Franklin was medical director of an urgent care and family practice center in Fort Wright, Ky., and as an emergency room physician at area hospitals. In 1985, Mary Ellen was offered a job in Greenville, N.C. While there, Dr. Franklin practiced with and eventually became a partner in Greenville Family Doctors. At the same time, he also was medical director of Stantonsburg Medical Clinic in Stantonsburg, N.C. During their 13 years in Greenville, the couple celebrated the birth of a daughter, Meryl, in 1986, and a son, Eric, four years later.
When the family had an opportunity to move to Augusta, where Mary Ellen would be an associate professor in the physical therapy department at the Medical College of Georgia, they were conflicted. We had strong feelings about moving because we liked Greenville and our work there, Dr. Franklin says. Leaving was one of the most difficult decisions weve ever made. When they did make the move to Augusta and settled in Columbia County, however, they found their new community much to their liking. The people here are nice, friendly, and easy to talk with, he explains. Theres a lot to do here and its a good place to raise children.
From the start, Dr. Franklin was interested in joining the Center for Primary Care, but since there was no opportunity available at the time, he worked in an urgent care and family practice at Medical Park in Sumter, S.C. During that time, he also worked part time on Saturdays for CPC, and later was offered a full-time position. In October 2002, Dr. Franklin joined the CPC medical staff as the fifth doctor at CPC-South.
Aside from the influence of his childhood family physician, Dr. Franklin has always been attracted to family medicine because of its variety, and he has found CPC to be a good fit for his medical philosophy. He enjoys caring for patients of all ages and meeting the full spectrum of their health care needs. I especially like caring for whole families and getting to know my patients, he says. Although he finds almost every aspect of family medicine intriguing, preventive health is one of Dr. Franklins primary interests. I like helping my patients understand what they can do to stay healthy because their well-being is very important to me, he says. My philosophy includes treating each one of my patients as I would my own mother. Cardiovascular health and occupational medicine are other aspects of family medicine Dr. Franklin particularly likes.
On a personal level, Dr. Franklin enjoys being a good family man more than anything. I spend lots of time with my children just being a dad, he says. He and his family also like traveling to beaches, cities, and the countryside, and engaging in cultural activities, such as visiting art museums. The main family-focused goal that he and Mary Ellen share, though, is raising their children and helping them become happy, successful adults.
Dr. Franklin brings to CPC breadth of experience as well as personal commitment to providing the best care for his patients. His gentle manner and his love of people and the privilege of caring for them is evident in all that he does, and he will surely be an asset to CPC