When Tim Baty (D.O. ’20) opens the door to the Wynne Medical Clinic each morning, he often stops to pinch himself as he prepares for his workday.
“It’s surreal,” says Baty. “This has been my dream for a long time. It’s something I worked toward for over a decade. There were tons of late nights and stress. I don’t think reality has set in quite yet that I’m back home and I’ve finally fulfilled the dream.”
Baty was a member of the inaugural class at NYITCOM-Arkansas, and now he’s among the first to begin fulfilling the mission of the school, which opened in 2016 to train physicians to serve in rural and medically underserved communities in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta region.
Wynne, Ark., has a population of roughly 8,000 and sits 50 miles west of Memphis, Tenn. According to the Arkansas Department of Health Manpower statistics released in January 2023, there were just 11 primary care physicians practicing in Cross County.
Make that 12.
In August 2023, Baty began practicing family medicine at the clinic where his dream began.
“It’s humbling,” Baty says. “I’m just so grateful for a chance to come back home and practice with the physicians who mentored me and helped me get here.”
Of all places, Baty’s journey to medicine began in a pizza parlor. As a junior in high school, Baty worked at a local pizza restaurant and casually mentioned to a co-worker that he wanted to become a doctor.
“My friend told me that his uncle was a family physician, and he’d ask if I could shadow him,” Baty recalls. “His uncle agreed. It started out as one day a week, and eventually, I was there every day he was in the clinic.”
Baty developed a deep appreciation for James Cathey, M.D., who continued to give his protégé more and more responsibility. When the clinic transitioned from paper charts to a new electronic medical records system, Cathey needed someone who was comfortable with the technology. Baty stepped up and became Cathey’s medical scribe. Later, during his fourth year of medical school, Baty did a rotation under Cathey.
“I learned so much from Dr. Cathey, and I can’t thank him enough for all that he’s done for me,” Baty says. “Being able to sit there and talk with him as a partner now is literally a dream come true.”
Baty left home in 2010 to attend the University of Central Arkansas and then joined the NYITCOM-Arkansas inaugural class in 2016. After earning his medical degree in 2020, Baty completed his family medicine residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences North Central campus in Batesville, Ark., where he was chief resident during his final two years.
Now the circle is complete. He’s in Wynne, practicing medicine, serving his community, and expressing a great deal of gratitude for the path that brought him home.
“I was blessed that NYITCOM opened the Jonesboro campus when it did,” Baty says. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend medical school so close to home and train with the patient population I’m working with now as a physician: hardworking people of the Delta. It was a godsend for me and a blessing. I received an awesome education, and I take a lot of pride in being an alumnus. I’m just so appreciative of everyone who’s helped me get here.”