Cushingberry-Turner opens new clinic in Natchez

Published 12:14 am Sunday, December 18, 2011

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat Dr. Benita Cushingberry-Turner, right, nurse Mirian Green, left, and receptionist Blanche Morrison, right, are welcoming patients to Natchez Regional Medical Center’s Family Medical Clinic.

NATCHEZ — Dr. Benita Cushingberry-Turner enjoys meeting and treating a wide variety of patients — one of the pluses of leading Natchez Regional Medical Center’s Family Medicine Clinic.

Cushingberry-Turner said working in medicine has been her dream since childhood.

“In seventh grade I wanted to be a peditrician,” Cushingberry-Turner said. “But I changed to family medicine to see a variety of people.”

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Cushingberry-Turner said she always liked and excelled in the sciences and had a desire to help people.

Cushingberry-Turner and her husband operated a private practice in Fresno, Calif., and recently moved to Natchez at the end of October.

“We felt more at home here, more comfortable and welcome.” Cushingberry-Turner said. “This is a close-knit community. It is a small town, but because everyone knows everyone, it feels more homey.”

The Turners have family in the region, which is another reason they were drawn South. Since the move, Cushingberry-Turner said she is focusing on building the practice, located on the second floor of the doctor’s pavilion beside Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Cushingberry-Turner said her medical approach is a marriage of communication and education.

“A doctor needs to teach,” Cushingberry-Turner said. “People should make educated choices. Sometimes (patients) don’t get enough information to make those decisions, so I do spend quite a bit of time talking with them.”

Cushingberry-Turner said one of her favorite aspects of family medicine, besides the diversity of patients, is the number of reasons that bring people in to see her.

“Every door is different,” Cushingberry-Turner said. “I review the chart, but nothing is ever the same. I read (the chart), but always ask, ‘Why are you here?’ It’s human nature that people are nervous.”

Cushingberry-Turner said she tells patients it takes a team to take care of them, and the more you tell your medical provider, the faster you will heal.

For Cushingberry-Turner, the greatest reward of family medicine is prevention. The biggest headaches, she said, are administration and insurance.

“But here I don’t have to worry about that,” Cushingberry-Turner said. “I just focus on medicine.”

Cushingberry-Turner also practices addiction medicine.

“It’s so rewarding to see people get off a substance,” Cushingberry-Turner said.

When she is not working, Cushingberry-Turner said she enjoys travel. While she has been overseas, Cushingberry-Turner said looks forward to exploring the region around the Miss-Lou.

“You can be in all these major cities in just a few hours,” Cushingberry-Turner said.

Cushingberry-Turner said she plans to lead the clinic for the remainder of her career.

“I want to fufill a role here and treat the community,” Cushingberry-Turner said. “And hopefully I can give people a better quality of life and more access to care. I want to fill that gap so people don’t have to travel.”

Cushingberry-Turner graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport in 1992. Her residency in family medicine was completed at the University of California San Francisco at Fresno Valley Medical Center.