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Adventist Health Welcomes Bessant Parker, MD, as New Medical Officer


Thursday, January 30, 2019 (Mendocino County) – Dr. Bessant Parker always knew that he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. And he believed the path he has taken has led him to his role today as the new Medical Officer for Adventist Health hospitals and clinics in Mendocino County.
Dr. Parker moved to Ukiah from Wisconsin, where he recently served as Chief Medical Officer for Aspirus Langlade Hospital. He completed his medical training in Ghana before coming to the United States where he did his residency in Internal Medicine at Harlem Hospital, an affiliate of Columbia University in New York.

Upon completion of his residency he served as a hospitalist at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin. He went on to complete a full-time master's degree in Business Administration, with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship, from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, while maintaining part-time employment at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Dr. Parker also trained with Tenet Healthcare in the Tenet Executive Development Program at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts where he served on the executive management team and was involved in leading quality and process improvement efforts.

As Adventist Health’s medical officer for Mendocino County, Dr. Parker will be working closely with staff and care providers to continuously improve the quality of care and experience for patients. "I'm excited to work with our team and the entire medical community in Mendocino County. It is my hope that we can all work together to improve care and access for all.”

“Dr. Parker is a welcome addition to our Adventist Health leadership team in Mendocino County. His energy and passion for process improvement will allow us to further improve the exceptional care for those we serve,” shares Jason Wells, president for Adventist Health in Mendocino County.
“His proven ability to work collaboratively and drive clinical excellence will help ensure a strong future for health in our region,” he adds.
With his unique background as a teacher and in business management, Dr. Parker says he is interested in focusing on systems that can lead to improved processes and quality improvements. "If you think about it, the human body is an amazing example of a system that works flawlessly. Just like we learned how to analyze and problem-solve when something goes wrong with the human body, we can look at our own processes and systems to make sure we're doing the right things, at the right times, for the right reasons."

Dr. Parker says it's that same interest in looking at processes and finding out how things work that inspired him to become a doctor. Growing up in Ghana, he was active in soccer and had many visits to the hospital due to injuries. "I would see the doctors and how they treated and fixed me, and I thought to myself, 'I want to be like them someday'".

After high school, he went on to become a high school teacher as part of his required one-year national service. He extended it for two more years during which time he set up a tutoring school, helping young adults to obtain the equivalent of a GED. Dr. Parker says what he learned during that time as a teacher has also made him the physician that he is. He taught students from ages 10-35 years old.

"When it comes to healthcare, we do a lot of education. Educating our patients about their diagnoses and disease process, on how to take their medications and manage their condition. Explaining things in a manner they understand is very important to the healing process. As a teacher, I learned to adapt my teaching style to my audience and that has helped me tremendously as a physician."

Asked why he chose Mendocino County, Dr. Parker says, the weather and the location is perfect for their family. “I grew up in a tropical country, and the weather here is a perfect balance. We also love that there's a lot of options for outdoor activities for our family-- my wife and my 3-year old daughter. It's also a great location -- small town that's far enough from the hustle and bustle but close enough to the big cities. It's perfect for our family. We’re looking forward to getting to know everyone and being part of this great community.”