Medical student earns prestigious residency

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2005

George Robert Booker has grown up on the family farm in Five Points (near Orrville) where, he says, “I worked with my hands all my life.”

The son of Julie and Terry Booker, he graduated from Morgan Academy with the Class of 1997. In 2001 he graduated from Auburn University with a degree in microbiology.

The University of Alabama School of Medicine was his next step toward his ultimate goal. With his graduation on May 15 he fulfilled another giant step on his path toward becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

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Next comes a five-year residency in orthopedic surgery, which Booker begins in July at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

When asked why he has chosen this medical field, he replies, “because I have always worked with my hands and I want to continue.”

“I have been able to achieve all my goals: First Auburn University on a full academic scholarship; second, Getting in medical school because I had the grades and a broad background; third, Getting a residency in orthopedic surgery which has only 610 slots nationwide, but I wanted a slot in the Southeast; fourth, I was able to take each step as it came. And it all began when I took care of Dr. Bill Bryant’s farm. He is an orthopedic surgeon and we spent a lot of time together. I got to see some of his work and I knew this was what I wanted.”

As he grew up, Booker also worked summers at Carter Drugs with his grandfather, owner Robert Raine. “And that did a lot for me,” he says, “being around pharmacists and the medical products.”

After completing his five-year residency he plans to enter private practice “in a smaller place with access to a hospital. And I also will have a farm, grow a little bit of cotton and manage my land for wild life.” This idyllic goal includes “fishing and duck hunting,” he admits, grinning at the thought.

His future also holds marriage to Deidre Martin of Monroeville, an elementary school teacher whom Booker met in Birmingham. They became engaged in February and will marry before he begins his residency.

In the interval between graduation from UA School of Medicine and beginning his residency in Mississippi he had time to get a crop planted, “cotton and corn,” he says.

He speaks fluently of his reasons for choosing orthopedics as his medical practice field. “There are several areas in the field: sports medicine, reconstructive surgery from sports injuries as well as taking care of acute injuries and treating chronic conditions by trying things to help.”

His present intention is to “do some of all the specialties in orthopedics.”

Booker is interested also in ailments of the aging population, “Knee replacements can now be done in an hour, then, in most cases, exercising can start. It’s neat to think you can do these surgeries in an hour and a half. Of course there are different therapies to help different people.”

Five years from now, a new orthopedic surgeon will take his place in the field of medicine, a young man who will also keep his place in the fields of cotton and corn.