Doctor grew up coming to Delta

By NICK ROGERS, Greenwood Leflore Commonwealth

Dr. Jay Culpepper is one of the newest doctors on staff at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, but he’s no stranger to the Delta.

Culpepper, an orthopedic surgeon and a native of Athens, Georgia, moved to Mississippi at age 12 when his father took a job in Madison. He grew up coming to the Greenwood area to hunt deer, turkeys and ducks.

He graduated from Madison Central High School and earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Mississippi. After medical school, he spent a year as a general surgery intern in Greenville, South Carolina, before moving to Shreveport, Louisiana, to complete his residency.

Culpepper says he had no doubts about becoming a doctor by the time he started college.

“I knew I wanted to go into medicine,” he said. “I knew I wanted to help people.”

But it wasn’t until halfway through his first year of medical school that he chose orthopedic surgery as his discipline. “I liked the concreteness of it, being able to see the problem and fix it.”

Culpepper was also drawn to orthopedic surgery because the results are immediate.

“When people have hip and knee replacements you usually see improvement in the first six weeks after the operation,” he said. “It’s really great to see.”

With the recent addition of Culpepper, who began work on July 13, the hospital now has four orthopedic surgeons on staff.

Although he identified fracture care and pediatrics as his favorite parts of orthopedics, Culpepper considers himself a generalist.

“I didn’t want to have to be a specialized shoulder guy and only work on shoulders,” says Culpepper. “I wanted to be able to do everything, and being in a small community gives you that opportunity.”

Culpepper said transitioning into life in Greenwood has been easy for him and his family. After all, his wife, Erica, was born in Greenwood and lived in Winona for most of her early childhood.

Erica and Jay Culpepper met while Erica was earning her master’s degree in speech pathology at University of Mississippi. The couple were married just over three years ago in Greenwood’s First Presbyterian Church. They have a daughter, Hailey, and a son, Jay Jr.

Contact Nick Rogers at 581-7235 or nrogers@gwcommonwealth.com.