LITTLE MOUNTAIN — Dr. Robert “Bob” Smith is no stranger to South Carolina, as he has returned to the area he fell in love with as Little Mountain Family Health’s newest doctor, his first day was March 12.
Smith originally came to South Carolina in 1983 for an internship at Hall Institute in Clinical Psychology, he also serves as a clinical psychologist.
“That’s how I came to South Carolina. I spent a year at Hall Institute, our kids were in school here and we just kind of fell in love with the area so I began working at G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital after internship,” Smith said. “We were in the area for about five years and then I was hired by a psychiatric company down in Florida and we moved back to Florida.”
Smith went into private practice while in Florida as a clinical psychologist specializing in addictions.
Smith first got the ‘medicine bug’ through his wife Pat.
“My wife was an office manager and as new patients would come in I would call her to look up what their diagnoses were, she got tired of looking them up so she bought me a textbook of medicine for Christmas one year, it actually peaked my interest and a couple years later I decided to go to med school,” he said.
Smith attended St. George’s University School of Medicine and completed an internship in Family Medicine at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J.
“This is actually my triumphant return, I had a practice in Prosperity for many years before, Countryside Family Practice, that was my individual practice I opened in 2003 and we were there until 2008. I got the moniker of Dr. Bob, all of my patients there knew me as Dr. Bob,” Smith said.
After closing his practice, Smith worked in Fort Jackson where he worked for about six years taking care of troops. He also worked as a Medical Evaluation Board Physician and performed evaluations on soldiers coming back from Afghanistan that were injured or disabled.
“I really enjoyed doing that, but my love of family medicine, I was attracted from that position to a medical director position at the Michelin plant in Lexington, they opened their own health care center for their employees and families. When they opened the new office I was a medical director there for two years,” Smith said.
From there, Smith was recruited by a pain management group to do medication management, which Smith said took him outside of his field of family medicine.
“I was actually looking for a family medicine physician when this opportunity came along and it was right back in my own back yard so that’s why I’m here,” he said. “Once the word started getting out that I was back in the area I’ve seen quite a few of my old patients coming back, I’ve found it to be a very easy transition at this point.”
Since returning to South Carolina, Smith hopes that as he continues his career in Little Mountain to continue to educate the community and his patients.
“Education is prime, a patient needs to know not just what medication they are taking, but why they are taking that medication and what it’s doing for them. The thing I don’t like is for a patient to come in and say ‘oh my wife takes care of that,’ that’s not your wife’s problem, this is your issue, your medication, you really need to understand what it’s about,” he said. “I like to educate patients and make them aware, we have excellent staff here, coming here has been easy. The staff has been remarkable, they know the patients well and they pick up on the little things that makes up a family practice. I fully intend to start reaching back out like I did before and just to go into a church on Sunday, sit down, open a forum and just ask any questions. You would be surprised how long you would be there, being able to answer those questions is very important.”
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.