Retired Blount Memorial Hospital pediatrician Dr. Clay Crowder was awarded a Meritorious Service Award for the Medical Staff by the Tennessee Hospital Association during its 69th annual meeting in Nashville.
Crowder was recognized for his commitment to the medically underserved and uninsured children of Blount County, medical leadership at the Blount Memorial Good Samaritan Clinic and the impact he’s had on the overall health of the community during his 40-year tenure.
“At the Good Samaritan Clinic, Dr. Crowder prepared a pediatric manual that he continually updated and still serves as a guide and foundation for patient care in the clinic today,” Blount Memorial Hospital administrator Joseph Dawson said. “He has set an example for the staff through his care for patients and supervision of staff, volunteers and medical interns. He has always served as an advocate for the patient and consistently sought new knowledge for the benefit of his patients.”
Described by Good Samaritan Clinic staff members as having a “common sense” approach to medicine, one that benefited everyone, Crowder also is highly respected among peers and medical students. But most importantly, he’s highly regarded by his patients. One patient presented Crowder with a life-size self-portrait from the patient’s grade-school brother after Crowder worked quickly to diagnose a problem that required specialized out-of-state surgery, which Crowder also secured.
He is also appreciated by another family after he accompanied a patient who had to be airlifted to an out-of-state hospital.
At Blount Memorial, Crowder was an active medical staff member, serving as chief of the pediatric department from 1969-1972 and again from 1984-1986. He’s also served on and chaired other committees of the hospital including the audit committee, credentials committee, ethics committee and was chairman of the ad hoc committee for the study of psychiatric services. He also served as secretary of the medical executive committee the same time he served as medical staff secretary.
During his career, Crowder’s professional positions have varied between private and group practices, and he has specialized in behavior problems in children and adolescents. While serving as an instructor in clinical pediatrics, Crowder also served as director of the East Tennessee Crippled Children’s Seizure Clinic. He has been involved with a number of medical organizations including the American Medical Association, the Blount County Medical Society and the East Tennessee Pediatric Society, while also serving as a medical consultant for TENNderCARE, Child and Family Services in Blount and Knox counties, and the Gestalt Center South in Knoxville.
Upon retiring in early 2007, Crowder told Blount Memorial co-workers and administrators that “we must not forget to listen with our ears and with our hearts to what our patients have to say, for we cannot ask them to live our belief systems in how they deal with their health issues, but instead, we must accept our patients for where they are in the moment and partner with them to achieve the health goals they set for themselves. With incremental change in the guise of small steps, we would eventually arrive at our destination of growing a healthier community. We must honor the process.”