Phillip Roger Awards: FGH physicians recognized for commitment to field, patients


Forrest General Hospital recognized four physicians with the 13th annual Philip W. Rogers Awards. The awards were announced during the hospital’s annual Employee Christmas Celebration.

These awards are presented to healthcare workers who exemplify commitment to the field of medicine and excellence in patient care. The award was presented to four individuals based on nominations received from their peers. Each winner represents one of Rogers’ most admirable characteristics – Humanitarian, Innovator, Leader and Mentor.


N. Joseph Salloum, MD, radiation oncologist with South Mississippi Associates in Radiation Therapy, PLLC, was honored with the Philip Rogers Humanitarian Award. Dr. Salloum has helped develop Forrest General’s cancer program from the ground up gaining state-wide recognition as one of the most progressive and highest quality treatment centers in Mississippi. He motivates himself and others to persistently push ahead, improving quality of care and providing the latest and greatest treatment options. He is an inspiration to all and has the ability to affect positive change.


The Innovator Award was presented to Jose Fernandez, MD, neurology, Hattiesburg Clinic. Dr. Fernandez is devoted to his medical calling and patient care as evidenced by his involvement in the stroke program. Because of his innovative work, 2019 will be the tenth year Forrest General has been a certified stroke center. Further, Dr. Fernandez is an outspoken advocate for physician, nurse, and community stroke education. Without his vision, Forrest General’s stroke program may not be what it is today. 


The award for Leadership was given to John Fitzpatrick, MD, nephrology, Hattiesburg Clinic. Dr. Fitzpatrick has been an instrumental leader in the implementation of electronic medical record (also called EMR) solutions to help resolve quality issues related to inpatients. He had a significant impact on leading doctors to utilize the EMR for orders. He was a leader in the hospital’s decision to implement Epic, which has improved patient care and efficiency. In addition, he has served in leadership roles at Hattiesburg Clinic for the last 12 years as it has grown from 206 physicians to the current staff of 417 physicians and Advanced Practice providers. His latest leadership contribution has been to coordinate Hattiesburg Clinic’s efforts to focus the team on population health implementation resulting in improvement in the health status of the community. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s awareness of the entire continuum of care and proven willingness to get involved to improve processes illustrates his unselfish leadership. 


The Philip Rogers Mentor Award went to Randel Smith, MD, cardiology, Hattiesburg Clinic Heart and Vascular. Dr. Smith demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the entire cardiology service line, taking it upon himself to provide support and service to all cardiologists as well as staff. He quickly discerns their individual needs and moves efficiently to provide guidance and direction. He guides staff to be at their best by observing their strengths and weaknesses and then building upon those traits. It is evident that Dr. Smith loves what he does and is deeply committed to caring for his patients and helping his team grow and cultivate their talents.