I first met Dr. Ervin Fox at Pacesetter Gallery in Flowood. He would come in a few times a week, sometimes on a conference call of some kind, and walk through the gallery to see what was new. He then began to attend some of our painting events, which made me curious about him as a person. I’ll be honest here. I often wonder what doctors do outside their exam rooms and how they manage the weight of their responsibilities, so after getting to know Dr. Fox a little better through the gallery, I decided to ask.
Dr. Fox, obviously the readers are going to already know that you’re a doctor, but can you explain a little more about the exact field you’re in?
I am a Professor in Cardiology at a local teaching hospital in Jackson, MS. I am also over the non-invasive laboratory and work as the principal investigator for a medical study.
So, what exactly does the study do?
This study is trying to understand why folks in Panola and Oktibbeha Counties and other rural areas across the southern United States are highly affected by heart and lung disease. Coming out of the study, we are looking at what we can do to address these issues.
How did you get into medicine?
My biggest influences come from my family. My dad was great at math and my mom was a big reader. I was the youngest. My siblings all attended Mississippi State and Ole Miss in science-related fields. They all set great examples and did the extra stuff it takes to be great.
Where did you attend school?
Well, I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, attending Coahoma Agricultural High School in Clarksdale. I received my bachelor’s from Mississippi State University in Biomedical Engineering, then attended The University of Mississippi for Medical School, followed by Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for Internal Medicine. I also went to Tulane for Cardiology and Harvard for a Research and Heart Cardiac Ultrasound Fellowship.
Wow. That’s impressive. Okay, so what do your days look like?
I currently live in Flowood and split my days between clinical and research. I go to Cups in Flowood to write papers, work on grants, and take conference calls, and I sometimes drive to the two rural counties to conduct community engagement as part of the rural study. Other times, I am working at the main campus doing clinical work.
Sounds like a lot. What do you do to decompress and have a little fun?
I try not to sit too long. So on the days I am at Cups usually working on research, I go in and see what is new at the gallery, even if just for a minute. It takes my mind to a different place; provides a sense of peace I really need. I have recently found I have a bit of an eye for art. I showed one of my paintings I created at the monthly painting event to a friend, another doctor, and he thought it was one that he could buy! I am also a foodie, I love to go to different restaurants and try new things. I really love tennis. I have attended the U.S. Open for the last 5 years. Currently, Rafael Nadal is my No. 1 favorite. I love music and spending time with my family and friends. They keep me grounded.
What are some special moments you cherish?
In 2012, I met President Obama when I received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (the highest government award for early-stage investigators in the field of science). I am sitting with my family and mom with NIH President Frances Collins in the picture. It was great to be able to share this moment with my family.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Dr. Fox. A story full of family, hard work, and taking care of Mississippians in so many ways. I think we can all learn a few things from Dr. Fox. We can focus our energy on improving the lives of those around us and find more ways to enjoy the good things in life!