by Julessa Oglen
After teaching for 28 years at The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Helen Turner can truly say her hard work and dedication have paid off.
Turner retired from UMC in July 2012 as the first woman to serve as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. While there, she was blessed with many opportunities to excel and impact the lives of students and patients.
Her path to success started at Mississippi University for Women, where she majored in biology and graduated in 1964. Turner credits teachers at The W who inspired her to go into the medical field. In 1971, she entered graduate school at UMC and earned her doctorate in medical microbiology in 1975.
Also in 1975, she entered medical school and graduated in 1979, subsequently training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, for a total of 13 years as a trainee at UMC.
When asked how she was able to withstand the rigorous work as a graduate student, medical student, internal medicine resident and infectious diseases fellow, she replied, “With the support of my husband, determination and a strong work ethic, I was able to succeed.”
She was named to “Best Doctors in the Southeast Region” and “Best Doctors in America” for several years. In 2012, she received the Distinguished Alumnus award from the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences and a citation from the Mississippi State Medical Association for her contributions to medicaleducation and to the practice of medicine. Turner was recognized by the Woman Physicians Congress of the American Medical Association in their Physician Mentor Recognition Program in 2010.
Turner received the Alumnae Achievement Award from MUW in 2003.
She has served as president-elect and president of the Mississippi State Medical Association and 10 years on the Mississippi delegation to the American Medical Association.
“The award I am proudest of is being named Alpha Omega Alpha Teacher of the Year,” she said. “I was very honored to have been selected by the medical students in the honor society.”
Turner has been married to her husband, Jim, for 48 years. They have one son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
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