Steelman, Ben. “Still a pioneer: rural patients focus of Lumbee doctor’s life.” Star news (Wilmington, NC) Sunday, March 28, 2004: 1D, 7D. 1,328 words.
This article reviews the forty years of accomplishments of physician and professor James G. Jones. In 1958, Jones was the first Native American graduate of Wake Forest University as well as the first Native American to receive a doctorate from its medical school. Thereafter, Jones’s accomplishments have included founder, and twenty years as chairperson, of East Carolina University’s department of family medicine; president of the organization that became the American Academy of Family Physicians; executive director of the North Carolina Health Planning Commission; and being named the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians’s 2003 Family Physician of the Year.
Seven years ago, after his 1995 retirement from East Carolina University, Jones became both medical director of and a staff physician with a chain of three nonprofit primary-care clinics in Pender County. Most of his work with patients is at the Maple Hill Clinic.
Jones was a staunch advocate for establishing a medical school at East Carolina University when many people, particularly in the UNC System, doubted the need for another medical school in the state. He felt it was imperative to provide an institution for training physicians in rural areas, especially in the eastern part of the state. He has also worked in many ways (including the Access III regionalized Medicaid program) to get new health care graduates to come to, and settle in, rural areas.
His concern about the U.S. health care system is that it is a “sick care system.” He states, “If you’ve got insurance in America, you’ll get the best care in the world. Still, within the shadows of these places, you’ve got people who have to decide whether to buy their medicine or eat. We have people here who have gone without medical care so long that disease has just ravaged them—conditions like diabetes that could have been managed if they’d gotten help in time. It just touches your heart” (paras. 20-22).