Best pediatrician has patience with patients

Perhaps if Dr. Michael Strickland had followed his instinct, he would have never won the 2014 Nappie Award for Best Pediatrician. Entering medical school in the late 90s, Strickland was more interested in becoming a surgeon.

Best Pediatrician

“I made the statement that I thought being a pediatrician would be like becoming a veterinarian, in that the patients couldn’t tell you what was wrong,” Strickland said. “But the third year in medical school I fell in love with it – when an infant comes in, they can’t say what hurts and you really have to be good clinician to figure out what’s going on.”

Strickland, a native of Fayette, Ala., north of Tuscaloosa, completed his residency in 2002 at the University of South Alabama and has been practicing at South Alabama Medical Clinic in Grand Bay for the past three years. He said it’s a multi-specialty group that treats all patients, where his own pediatric office remains “quite busy” with 25-30 patients each day, more during flu season.

Strickland, 41, said he is from “sort of a redneck family,” but knew he wanted to be a doctor his entire life and “worked and kept my nose to the ground to get to that to point and I’m very happy with my career.”

Strickland attributes his Nappie Award to his broad clientele, who draw from not only Grand Bay but all around Mobile County and even the the Eastern Shore. He said his practice may differ from others in that he chooses to spend more time with his patients.

“I think it takes time,” he said of establishing a relationship with patients. “We are often pushed to see more patients, but the right thing is not to see more volume but to take more time with every individual and see what their concerns are. I have some evidence-based medicine and studies looking at large groups of children where sitting down and listening makes the biggest difference.”

Strickland is also a strong proponent of childhood vaccinations, noting he recently referred an infant case of whooping cough to the hospital.

“It segues into one of my big pet peeves,” he said. “I consider vaccination the best thing day in and day out for the health of children … but still some parents pause.”

In his time away from the office, Strickland enjoys spending time with his two dogs, reading, cooking, traveling and mission work. In June, he returned from a trip volunteering in Honduras for a nonprofit group called Healing Hands Global.

His intention is to remain in Grand Bay.

“Mobile is home to me,” he said.

Profile by Gabriel Tynes