Since 2003, Dr. Richard Dew has volunteered his medical skills to the patients of Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic. “I still look forward to coming here every week,” he says.
“I just love medicine,” says the longtime physician. “I look on it as a calling rather than a job.” Working at the Clinic is a ministry for him. “Here I feel like you’re helping folks who really need help and can’t get it anywhere else.”
As the Clinic’s medical director, he sees a full patient load one day a week and can be reached by phone for advice if needed at other times. He is responsible for maintaining the Clinic’s high quality of medicine. He works with less experienced staff members and the many medical students who visit the Clinic. He loves to teach and sees it as a way of impacting the future of medicine.
Listening to patients and getting to know them over time and building relationships with them is an aspect he enjoys. Then there’s the joy of making a rare diagnosis. For example, he recently diagnosed a case of rheumatic fever, though it had been 50 years since he last came across it.
He earned his medical degree at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine and did his residency in family practice. He was a U.S. Navy medical officer in Vietnam, then practiced medicine in Oak Ridge for 30 years. During that time he started the first hospitalist program in Tennessee at Methodist Medical Center.
He has plenty of interests beyond medicine. He is the author of three published books and is hard at work on his fourth. He heads a support group for families of children who have died. He enjoys hiking, cultivates wildflowers at his Gatlinburg home and with his wife, Jean, follows University of Tennessee men’s basketball.