Dr. Aaron PorterDr. Aaron Porter, First Graduate Of Family Medicine Residency Program, Starts Practice In Norton

Whether Dr. Aaron Porter is called a trailblazer or simply recognized as the newest family medicine physician with Wellmont Medical Associates, he is making a positive difference in health care in Southwest Virginia.

Dr. Porter has begun his practice, treating patients of all ages with varied health needs, at 405 Wharton Lane. The start of his practice is a milestone because he is the first graduate of the family medicine residency program established by Wellmont Health System and the Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

This partnership is enhancing primary care in Southwest Virginia by increasing the pool of physicians in the region. There are now 19 residents enrolled in the residency program.

The program’s goal is to encourage these physicians to stay in the region when they complete their residency. This supplements the high-quality physicians who have served with distinction in Southwest Virginia for years. And when physicians choose to retire, Wellmont and LMU-DCOM are ensuring a seamless transition to a new generation of healthcare providers.

“I feel honored to have been a part of this innovative program and look forward to working with the residents who will follow me into practice,” Dr. Porter said. “I’m just proud to have played a role in building the framework of this outstanding program. It’s something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Dr. Porter said he is well prepared to begin his own practice due to assistance he received from Dr. Maurice Nida, Wellmont’s director of medical education; Dr. Thomas Roatsey, program director; and the other expert practicing physicians in Southwest Virginia.

“We’re grateful Dr. Porter has begun his practice with Wellmont Medical Associates,” Dr. Nida said. “He has grown considerably as a physician and as a person during his time with us, and his patients will benefit greatly from the excellent skills he has developed. We have waited a long time for this moment to arrive and are ecstatic this program is achieving its goal.”

Dr. Porter said he chose to stay with Wellmont because of the family atmosphere he noticed during his residency. He also liked the region because of its similarity to North Central West Virginia, where he was raised.

Dr. Porter is the latest physician to join Wellmont Medical Associates, the growing umbrella organization for Wellmont’s integrated physicians. Created earlier this year, Wellmont Medical Associates is a physician-led, professionally managed organization that better enables physicians to set the direction for patient care.

As he reflected on his medical career, Dr. Porter said he was not one of those people who knew early on what he wanted to do for a living. Rather, he attributes his career choice to God.

“I think God puts people on a certain path,” Dr. Porter said. “I think this is my path – what I was meant to do. I was meant to help patients and help people, so I’m doing that in the best way I know how and the way I was trained.”

Dr. Porter said it is important for a physician to talk with his or her patients and let them know he is available for them. He also said physicians can help their patients by ensuring those receiving care are taking proper medications and eating the right foods to produce optimal health.

He said he tries to create an environment for dialogue with his patients by asking the right questions that elicit information he needs from the patient. Dr. Porter encourages patients to share as much as possible about their lives and their conditions so he can best help them.

While his practice will treat a broad spectrum of illnesses, Dr. Porter said he is a strong advocate for the control of blood sugar and blood pressure. His preferred method of care is to prevent these conditions from developing in the first place, but if that is not possible, he would like to treat them first with dietary changes and lifestyle modification.

“Those are probably two of the biggest conditions we’re passionate about treating, because they can cause so many other problems with a patient down the road if they are not adequately controlled,” Dr. Porter said.

Greg Neal, president of Wellmont’s community hospital division, which includes the health system’s facilities in Southwest Virginia, said this is an exciting time for the region.

“We have long been focused on ensuring we have a healthcare system that best serves the needs of our valued patients in Southwest Virginia,” Neal said. “The residency program fits that philosophy nicely because it is adding a new group of physicians who will continue our legacy of high-quality care, delivered with compassion. We’re fortunate someone of the caliber of Dr. Porter will facilitate a new era of wellness in our region.”

Dr. Porter has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in biology from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. He graduated from Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine in Kentucky and is a member of the American Osteopathic Association and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

When he is not treating patients, Dr. Porter enjoys personal pursuits such as running, fishing and reading.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Porter, please call 276-679-0321. For more information, please visit www.wellmont.org.