Long-time physician becomes new CMO of NEA Baptist

Jonesboro, Ark. – For the first time in 40 years, Dr. Stephen Woodruff did not walk into a full outpatient clinic. Over the past 4 decades, he has worked along-side his partner, Dr. Ray Hall and has dedicated a career into providing excellent care for patients in northeast Arkansas.

Beginning March 20, Dr. Woodruff will serve as the full-time Chief Medical Officer of NEA Baptist Health System, where he will have the opportunity to continue to build on his legacy of impacting patients’ lives by leading the day-to-day operations and strategic development of NEA Baptist’s medical staff as NEA Baptist Hospital’s top physician executive.

“Dr. Woodruff’s dedication and impact will only accelerate as he steps full-time into the CMO role that he has assumed as part of his many roles and responsibilities for many years now. Dr. Woodruff will now have the opportunity to focus on impacting patient care from a systemic perspective as he guides our institution into the next 100 years of healthcare in Northeast Arkansas.”, said Sam Lynd, CEO and Administrator at NEA Baptist.

Woodruff addresses his patients with the following statement:

Early in life, I dreamed of becoming a physician. Fortunately, my dream became a reality with training at UAMS, service in the US Navy, and nearly 40 years of practice here in Jonesboro.  Along the way, I have been blessed with numerous awards, and the chance to contribute to the growth of the Jonesboro medical community. However, my greatest blessing has been the opportunity to serve as your primary care doctor throughout good and occasionally difficult times.  Teaching a group of talented Internal Medicine resident Physicians, many of whom are staying on our staff, has been very rewarding as well.  Since 1994, I have also functioned as the clinic medical director and more recently, the same role in the hospital.

Our local system has grown tremendously with over 200 physicians and advanced practice providers, 2,000 plus employees, and more added each year.  These changes locally and at a system level have made it necessary for me to assume the role of full-time Chief Medical Officer for the Baptist System in Arkansas.  The need is urgent, so I will, therefore, cease my Internal Medicine Clinic practice on March 28.  Since this is occurring so quickly, I will continue to refill your current prescriptions through July of this year.  We have recently added Dr. Veryl Hodges, and in July Dr. Ben Mills, both skilled and capable internists, to assume my day-to-day practice over time. In the meantime, our excellent Advanced Practice Providers, Carla, Ashley, and Jessica, will also aid in this transition. 

Words cannot express my gratitude for your trust in me as your physician all these years.  I will truly miss each of you, but feel I am leaving you in good hands.

Dr. Woodruff, MD, MACP was awarded a Mastership by the American College of Physicians in 2019 which is a highly prestigious award given to physicians nominated by their peers as highly accomplished and providing significant contributions to the field of medicine.  Woodruff was one of only 50 worldwide to receive the honor in 2019. 

As Chief Medical Officer, Woodruff has provided insight and expertise to ensure the health system remained equipped, safe, and ready to serve the community as the COVID crisis entered the region.  He remains a mentor to many physicians within our system and has been instrumental in developing the world-class medical staff available to patients in northeast Arkansas and the surrounding region.

Dr. Ray Hall Jr. MD, MACP, long-time friend and colleague and founder of NEA Clinic had this to share about Dr. Woodruff, “Dr. Stephen Woodruff has been vital to the growth and improvement of health care in our region over the past four decades.  He is a distinguished Internist and highly respected by his patients and colleagues”.

NEA Baptist Health System comprises NEA Baptist Clinic, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, and NEA Baptist Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care.  The 228-bed hospital offers cancer care, heart care through the Heart Center, labor and delivery services through the hospital’s Women’s Center, as well as a number of inpatient and outpatient services, emergency care, and surgical services including weight loss surgery, neurology, respiratory care, and pulmonary rehabilitation. NEA Baptist Clinic’s over 110 physicians practice in more than 35 specialties and offer a wealth of services, from pediatrics to orthopedic services.

For more information about NEA Baptist, please call 870-936-1000 or visit http://www.neabaptist.com.

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