TUPELO • A physician whose career has taken him from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a start up pro football league will serve as the new chief medical officer for North Mississippi Health Services.

Dr. Jeremy Blanchard, who was selected through a national search, will join the Tupelo-based health system on Dec. 9. He will succeed Dr. C.K. White, who became the system’s chief medical officer after a long career as an obstetrician-gynecologist. White is retiring from the system at the end of the year.

“In addition to his experience in various physician leadership roles with rural-based hospitals and health system (both large and small), Dr. Blanchard was recognized by the interviewers for his strong leadership attributes: communication and organizational skills, accountability and innovation as well as a passion and energy for improving rural healthcare,” said Shane Spees, NMHS president and chief executive officer in a press release. “We look forward to Dr. Blanchard joining our healthcare team in December.”

Blanchard attended medical school on a U.S. Army health professionals scholarship and went on to become a critical care specialist at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C. Most recently, he served as head of player and family wellness for The Alliance of American Football, a startup professional football league, which folded in April.

Blanchard, whose experience includes serving as chief medical officer and senior vice president of Innovation for Language of Caring, a cultural transformation group serving more than 300 health care systems and 50 physician practices, said he was honored to work with a well-respected health system and a gifted group of physicians and healthcare team members.

“It is a remarkable rural health system; and as a Montana boy, I love that environment, where your handshake is valued and listening to understand is acknowledged as a powerful and respectful approach,” Blanchard said in a statement posted on his Linked In profile. “I will learn so much and can bring my talents to an incredible team.”

According to the NMHS announcement, Blanchard said he chooses jobs based on fulfillment level and has admired North Mississippi Health Services for its quality and safety initiatives, including the awarding of North Mississippi Medical Center the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award in 2006 and NMHS in 2012.

Blanchard served as chief medical officer for St. James Healthcare, an affiliate of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health, and vice president of Quality and chief medical officer for Peace Health Northwest Network. He was the inaugural medical director of the combined intensivist and adult hospitalist program at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington.

Blanchard completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Montana in Missoula, and his medical studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He has a master’s in medical management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles, where he graduated with honors. He also holds certifications as a physician executive and patient experience professional.

He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Washington, and his fellowship in critical care medicine at Walter Reed. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for 11 years and reached the rank of major.

Blanchard and his wife, Francie, have already purchased a home in Tupelo.

Blanchard said his vision is to live up to God’s potential and help people and NMHS is a place that applies to him both personally and professionally.

“Its providers, staff and leaders have a demonstrated history of excellence,” Blanchard said. “Yet its size, culture and rural nature place high value on individuals and the relationships that assure the sustainment of human kindness and caring in the practice of medicine.”

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