Dr. Shawn Watts, left, talks with Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce director Sheryl Smedley during the open house of Watts’ new office at Vaughan Regional Medical Center. -- Rick Couch

Vaughan, Selma welcome Watts

Published 12:25am Saturday, September 3, 2011

After completing her studies, Central Alabama Surgical Associates general surgeon Dr. Shawn Watts had a number of opportunities.

However, when Watts saw an opportunity to bring her services to people with a serious need and stay close to home, she answered the call.

“I was trying to stay in the South because I was raised in Atlanta,” she said. “The job opportunities for surgeons fall into two categories. You can go wherever you want to go because the market is pretty open, but on the other hand, it’s always better to go where you are needed. From the moment I stepped across the threshold and spoke to people in the community, I felt needed.”

Her education, Watts said, took her to many different areas before she settled in Dallas County.

Her undergraduate studies led her to Ohio Oberlin University before traveling to the University of Iowa for medical school.

She was then matched at Tulane University. However, Watts said Hurricane Katrina caused her to transfer to the University of South Alabama.

Becoming a surgeon was not a decision Watts made overnight. She said she was leaning toward a career in medicine before she was in third grade.

Her interest in medicine came from a combination of scorching Atlanta summers and her mother’s occupation as a registered nurse.

“She is the reason I became interested in medicine,” she said. “In Atlanta, it is very hot in the summer and I didn’t always want to go outside. I stayed inside and read a lot of her textbooks from nursing school. I was already interested in becoming a doctor at age 8.”

Her father, an Emmy Award winning broadcaster, also urged her to pursue a career she would enjoy.

Watts said she already feels at home in Selma.

“I’m overwhelmed by how welcoming everybody has been,” she said. “It has been really positive. It’s nice to go to work and know that you are making a difference in people’s lives. I can honestly say I love what I do.”

The combination of Southern hospitality, and an outgoing staff, made the transition an easy one.

Already, Watts said people have called her with a number of questions. She said she is always willing to help people with their problems.

“We field a lot of questions from people in the community, so if anyone is curious we encourage them to go ahead and call,” she said. “If we can’t help you, we can direct you to someone who can.”

Watts’ office is located at 1023 Medical Center Parkway in Suite 309.

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