LAUREL, MS. (WDAM) - Every year the American Hospital Association honors one leader in each state across the country with a Grassroots Champion Award.
For 2010, Doug Higginbotham was selected as Mississippi's honoree. He is the Executive Director of South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel.
Higginbotham said, "Part of what they say it's about is again preaching the message of the healthcare community to not only the legislature but to other folks. To kind of get the story out about how different things impact the healthcare community. So I kind of see doing that as part of my everyday job. So to be recognized for that was a bit of a surprise."
However, the award was not a surprise to the folks who work with Higginbotham on a daily basis like Dr. Mark Horne. The two men have known each other since the early nineties.
"He's a wonderful leader by example, he doesn't just tell others to go do things and leave it to them and sit back and bask in the glow of his office. He gets out and does the hard work," said Horne.
Over the duration of Higginbotham's tenure at the hospital, South Central has experienced many changes in terms of service expansion and the recruitment of highly capable doctors.
"That has been real gratifying in a small community to be able to bring in the type of services we have with the quality of physicians we have. That has really been a blessing," said Higginbotham.
South Central Regional Medical Center has also expanded their facilities with new clinics. Plans are to continue that progress with a complete replacement of the hospital's intensive care unit.
Additionally, a new health center is in the works for Ellisville.