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Biology graduate to be first pediatrician in rural Apalachicola

Dr. Robert A. Head ’69, a veteran Dothan, Ala., physician, will be Apalachicola’s first pediatrician when he begins work in January for the Sacred Heart Medical Group out of a downtown site the group practice is buying.

Head, who received a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Loyola in New Orleans in 1969, earned his medical degree in 1973 from the University of Mississippi. He completed his pediatric internship and residency at the University of Alabama School of Medicine - The Children's Hospital of Alabama in 1976. Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Head moved to Dothan in July 1976 to establish Southeastern Pediatric Associates. 

Head's medical group is considering an application to become certified as a Rural Health Clinic, a federal designation designed to improve access to primary care in underserved rural areas. Such clinics qualify for higher reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid and are required to use a team approach of physicians and midlevel practitioners such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives to provide services. Rules would require the clinic to be staffed at least 50 percent of the time with a midlevel practitioner, and to provide outpatient primary care services and basic laboratory services.