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From Salutatorian To Doctor, Taylor Finishes Residency In June

Dr. Renee Taylor

By David Howell


WATER VALLEY – It’s been a long journey since Renee Taylor graduated as salutatorian of the Class of 2007 at Coffeeville High School.  In June, Dr. Taylor will complete her final year of residency with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and enter the work force as a Family Medicine Physician.

Her journey includes four years at Jackson State University (JSU) on a full scholarship, earning her bachelor’s degree in Science and Biology. 

“I really credit JSU with helping me get into medical school,” Taylor reported about that first leg of her education. After graduating from JSU, she jumped right into medical school at University of Mississippi School of Medicine, excelling during the first two years of intense classroom study.

“I have always been good in school, so I thought this is another school, I can do this,” Taylor recalled about those two grueling years as seats emptied around her. Next was two years of rotation in different specialties, receiving hands-on training before starting her three-year residency. 

For the last month, Taylor has enjoyed a rotation at Yalobusha Health Services’ (YHS) Odom Rural Health Clinic as the time fast approaches to weigh job options after she completes her residency.

“I had an interest in maybe coming back to this area to work, so they allowed me to do a month rotation here,” Taylor explained, a rotation which allowed insight into the patients served at the clinic and how doctors flow with the clinic in her home county.

“It’s been great seeing a lot of familiar faces. The staff here is amazing, friendly, I have enjoyed it,” Taylor said about the last month.

“Coming here is definitely on top of the list,” Taylor added about her options next year.  “For sure I will be in Mississippi, I am just trying to figure what part of Mississippi will work for me and where I will be able to give back and serve a community.”

Her roots in the county run deep as her parents, Mary and Mark Taylor are Coffeeville residents, as is her grandmother, Otis Jean Taylor. Her other grandmother, Janie Lee Exson lives in Oakland.

The decision on whether or not to come home to start her first practice also brings a little apprehension because of her strong connections to Coffeeville and the county.

“I will be honest, I didn’t want to come back home because I didn’t know how the community would perceive me,” she explains, adding that the perception may be that she was still Mary and Mark Taylor’s baby girl.

And she also admits she was prepared not to like her month at the local clinic.

“I didn’t want to like it, but I do,” Taylor said about her experience at Odom Rural Health Clinic.  She likes the setup at YHS, where a physician is deeply involved in a patient’s life.

“Here you can see them in the clinic. You can send them to the hospital and still be involved in their care, or even if they are in the nursing home you can be involved,” Taylor explained about the footprint for the county-owned healthcare system. 

Taylor’s rotation has also been important for YHS Administrator Terry Varner, who makes recruiting top doctors to serve the county a priority. 

“We were excited that Dr. Taylor chose the Odom Clinic for her rotation,” Varner said. “We believe that she will be a great addition for our county if she chooses to start her practice with our facility.”

Dr. Taylor’s dream of becoming a physician dates back to the seventh grade, as she was inspired by Dr. Healthcliff “Cliff” Huxtable, the obstetrician on the Cosby Show portrayed by Bill Cosby.

“I really wanted to do OB-GYN originally,” Taylor recalls. “I loved to learn about the human body. I also wanted something that I could continue to grow in, and medicine is the perfect field for that.”

Although she doesn’t want to place too much emphasis on where she will start her first practice just yet, Taylor has researched different options. “But right now I am focused on being in a place where I can help and do the most good,” she added. 

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