Dr. Don N. Howard, an intensivist at St. Bernards Medical Center, has been recognized by his peers as the 2016 recipient of the Living the Mission Physician Award.
Formerly of Valdosta, Ga., Howard has been on the medical staff at St. Bernards since 2008. He was selected by his peers as a physician who “lives the mission” of St. Bernards every day – “providing Christ-like healing to the community through education, treatment and healthcare services.”
The award is given annually, with physicians being nominated by medical center employees. A committee narrows nominations to three, and the physicians on the medical staff vote to select the recipient.
Howard was born in Rochester, N.Y., but his parents moved to Valdosta, Ga., when he was an infant. He grew up in Valdosta and still considers Georgia to be “God’s country.”
Howard moved to Arkansas when he enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway for undergraduate studies. After completing a bachelor’s degree in health science, he earned a master’s in physical therapy.
He worked in that field at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock briefly before entering medical school and earning an M.D. degree. He then completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UAMS.
Howard and his family moved to Jonesboro in 2008, where he was a pulmonary and critical care physician at Clopton Clinic, with clinic and hospital duties. In 2009 he became a hospitalist at St. Bernards, and a year later, he began serving as an intensivist at the 438-bed acute care hospital.
His coworkers and colleagues describe him with words such as passionate, outgoing, kind, knowledgeable, humble, great patient advocate, friendly empathetic, unique, approachable, driven and down-to-earth.
Nominators talked about his great bedside manner, his ability to explain things in terms the family and patient can understand, his exceptional leadership skills, his insistence that all members of a patient’s care team be involved in a way that ensures each patient receives true multidisciplinary care and his genuine interest in each patient and commitment to patient recovery.
Howard loves music. He loves to listen to music. And he enjoys performing, having taken up guitar after he reached adulthood.
He and his wife, Heather, have a 14-year-old-daughter, Charlotte.
His parents are Larry and Diane Howard of Valdosta and Cheryl Hastings of Fort Smith, Ark. He also has three brothers – Todd and Chris Howard of Georgia and Daniel Hastings of Fort Smith.