New doctor says she’s a people person

By BRYN STOLE Staff Writer The Greenwood Commonwealth

Dr. Bahati Harden originally went to medical school thinking she’d end up an agent for the Centers for Disease Control, helping keep the country safe from bioterrorist threats.

Instead, Harden found out what she really loved about medicine was constantly interacting with patients.

“I’m kind of a people person,” Harden said. “I enjoy helping people.”

Dr. Harden is the newest doctor at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, where she’s an internist and practices family medicine. She said she started at the beginning of September and is already serving patients with a variety of needs.

Harden said she’s still settling in to her new life in Greenwood and is thrilled with her new position.

“I really like my job. I really like taking care of patients,” she said. “This position gives me a lot of freedom to practice how I want to.”

Harden, a native of Natchez, has worked in public health and disease control and developed a well-rounded set of skills as a doctor in rural Louisiana.

After finishing her bachelor’s degree at Spelman College in Atlanta, Harden went to graduate school in public health at Tulane University, where she earned a master’s degree.

Harden then worked at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, where she focused on bioterrorism preparedness and worked to educate the public about infectious diseases.

When she left to attend medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Harden thought she’d head back to the CDC afterward. Once in medical school, though, she found she preferred building relationships as a primary care physician to the paperwork and bureaucracy of working at a government agency.

After finishing her medical degree, Harden did her residency in rural Vivian, a small town of 4,000 in the far northwestern corner of Louisiana.

Practicing rural medicine in Vivian, Harden said she did everything from regular check-ups to gallbladder surgery to delivering babies.

So far in her new job, most of her patients  have been adults dealing with chronic diseases.

She said her background in public health helped inform the way she practices. Interacting with her patients — and making sure they both understand each other — is paramount. “Honesty is the most important thing,” Harden said. “That can translate to better care.”

Contact Bryn Stole at   581-7235 or bstole@gwcommonwealth.com.