Bishop awarded Parker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology
Dr. Phyllis Bishop of Madison is chief of the division Dr. Paul Parker started at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Now she holds the chair named for him.
The Paul Parker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology was presented to her Tuesday at the Fairview Inn, where Parker and current and former colleagues gathered to congratulate her.
"I first met Phyllis when she was a third-year med student,” Parker said. “I was immediately impressed by her intelligence and eagerness to learn."
This was especially true about pediatric gastroenterology, a specialty Parker calls “the greatest in the world.”
Calling Bishop “maybe the best resident we ever produced,” and later “the best fellow Vanderbilt ever had,” Parker said one of the greatest days of his career was in 1998 when Bishop and her husband, Dr. Michael Nowicki, joined him in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology that he started in 1981. He was the only pediatric gastroenterologist in the state and one of few in the region.
“Being alone on-call every night for 17 and a half years ain’t for sissies,” Parker quipped. “After Phyllis and Michael joined us, it felt like I was working part-time.”
Bishop said the gathering of colleagues for the Parker Chair presentation was “truly humbling" and responded to Parker that he was the “best clinician Vandy ever produced.”
“Those were big shoes to fill,” she said of following Parker. “I’m following a legend.”
Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and professor of pediatrics, said the impact of Parker and the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology is still being felt.
“One of his patients was the granddaughter of Joe and Kathy Sanderson,” she said. “He cared for each patient as if they were his own children. The gratitude the Sandersons felt for her care was the start of their relationship with Children’s of Mississippi.”
The Sandersons later chaired the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, which raised $101.5 million to fund construction of the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower, a seven-story expansion of the state’s only children’s hospital. They donated $10 million to that cause.
Another person influenced by Parker, Bishop and the division is a former patient, Dr. Parker Giroux, now an assistant professor of pediatric gastroenterology.
As an 11-year-old, Giroux saw Parker for reflux. “Aside from being a great doctor, Dr. Parker is cool. I thought so then and now. He is a wonderful doctor and mentor.”
Taylor praised Bishop for her professionalism and compassion for patients as well as her leadership.
“Pediatric gastroenterology is an essential part of care and factors into other specialties,” she said. “The Parker Chair is a well-deserved honor, and we are fortunate to have Dr. Bishop at Children’s of Mississippi.”
The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, under Bishop’s leadership, “has thrived,” Parker said, “A fellowship program in pediatric gastroenterology is training new specialists, and research in pediatric gastroenterology has been published by numerous journals. The future has never been brighter for pediatric gastroenterology here. It will only get better and better.”