Top Doctors 2015

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Generations of Care  | Repair Man | Bringing in the Talent | Building Up Health 
 She's a Fighter | Champion of Eye Health | Living Well | 417-Land Hospitals


Ever wonder how our local hospitals get physicians from across the country and around the globe to settle in 417-land and practice here? Read on to learn how the CoxHealth recruitment team convinced Dr. Robert Shaw, Springfield-area Top Doctors winner in the Plastic (Facial Surgery) category, to stay in 417-land when he kept flying right over it to live his life on the coast. By Rose Marthis

When he isn’t busy with patients, Dr. Robert Shaw enjoys spending family time with his wife and two children at the Springfield Art Museum.

He could have worked in California, New York, Florida or North Carolina. But he picked here.

Dr. Robert Shaw is a plastic surgeon who does cosmetic and reconstructive procedures at CoxHealth’s Ferrell-Duncan Clinic. He has called Springfield home for almost four years, and he says he was drawn to the area by many factors.

“Springfield is a great town in a lot of ways,” Shaw says. “You can avoid the issues of big cities, there are great values here, it’s a great place to raise children, and there is a strong medical community here with a lot of support.”

Shaw found his plastic surgeon role here on a whim. After finishing his training in New York, he says he and his wife were open to going anywhere. He saw the opening at CoxHealth online, contacted the recruiter, who passed his application to the clinic’s top surgeons, and was invited to Springfield for an interview.

Paula Johnson, the director of physician recruitment at CoxHealth, says the process has many layers.

Johnson says recruiting involves keeping track of who is in medical school, residencies and fellowships and reaching out to candidates through career fairs around the country. She sends informational packets that include information from the Chamber of Commerce so doctors can get a feel for the area.

“When we meet a candidate, the first thing is to see if they have any connection to the area, through them or their spouse,” she says. “Then it’s a matter of getting them here and seeing the community.”

Shaw says he was drawn to the strong medical community and high quality of care for local patients. “When you have two really successful systems, they are competing and pushing each other to be better,” he says. “It’s good for the community because you’re getting really high-quality care.”

Shaw knows he could have gone a lot of places as a plastic surgeon, but he was sold on CoxHealth because of the team and opportunities that would surround him.

“A big factor is who you’re working with,” he says. “The culture and relationships with physicians are great. Everyone is treated like partners instead of employees.”

Shaw also says he enjoys the mix of performing both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Most people think plastic surgery is changing a Hollywood star’s face, but patients here have reasonable expectations, which makes it a fun place to work, he says. Shaw wanted to do the full spectrum of plastic surgery, and he performs reconstructive surgery for patients who have had cancer treatments or other procedures that remove parts of their body. He often reconstructs breasts for women who have undergone a mastectomy.

Shaw stands shoulder-to-should with other top physicians when he performs these live-changing surgeries. Johnson says potential doctors are drawn to the peers they will have here. She sends out information on all the current physicians and their backgrounds so candidates can see where they trained. “There are top-notch people here,” she says. “Why wouldn’t you want them to be your colleagues?”

Johnson says recruitment doesn’t just bring in people familiar with the area, but people from around the nation and even around the world. Out of 124 doctors recruited since 2011, 28 physicians are international.

Johnson uses the diverse activity options as a selling point for the area. She points out how Springfield offers everything a big city does without the congested traffic, and the great outdoors are close by. “We’re surrounded by the best of everything,” she says. “It sells itself.”

 Shaw says he likes Springfield because the moderate size gives him the best of both worlds. He and his wife both grew up in big cities on the coast, but they enjoy life in Missouri. With two young children, he says most of what they do here is kid-oriented, and some of their favorite places to spend a weekend are the Springfield Art Museum, the Discovery Center and little shops downtown. “I didn’t know anything about southwest Missouri before I came here to interview, but I’m very happy,” he says.

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