IN HIS BAG
Dr. Wayne Beauford draws his inspiration as a physician from a historical family influence.
Atop the near ceiling-height bookcase in the second-floor office overlooking the city he serves sits a special memento. Like a cover to an ancient text, it carries some dust. Its dents, scars, and bits of fraying leather serve as a foreword to the volumes of collected stories it contains.
Dr. Wayne Beauford has been practicing medicine for more than three decades, the bulk of that time spent with Bethany Medical in High Point. A pulmonologist, Beauford sees patients daily in his office at 507 Lindsay St.
Lit by the natural light that filters through a wall of windows facing out to the south, his office is filled with family photos, art, knick-knacks, and other gathered memorabilia that hint at who the man is and perhaps some of the places he has been.
No item is dearer to him, though than the little black bag occupying the top left corner of his bookshelf.
“This belonged to my grandmother,” he says, taking it down and setting it gently on the corner of his desk. He beams with pride as he looks it over, content to let linger the dust and cobwebs that have gathered over it. They are a part of its story now, too. “This is the reason I became a doctor,” he adds.
Hannah Nelson served as a midwife in his native South Carolina. For decades she delivered all the babies born in the area. Using her instruments, her training, and the sage holistic healing practices passed down to her – all nestled in that little black bag – she treated people’s injuries and illnesses when there were no doctors’ offices or hospitals available to them.
She delivered him, no less, her own grandson when he was born. She delivered every baby, up until the time his youngest brother was born. “You can see where the line is in history,” Dr. Beauford said. “He was born in a hospital.”
Dr. Wayne Beauford became a physician to serve the underserved. Having grown up in the rural South at a time when certain people were prevented from accessing the same medical care others took for granted, he knows the value of having a family doctor.
While he is a specialist, he also knows that when patients come to see him at Bethany Medical, they are introduced to the host of other services offered by the largest independent health care provider in the region. The menu includes primary care, urgent care, specialty care, women’s health, weight loss, chronic illness and pain management, and more. While a patient might come to a Bethany clinic for one reason or another, once there he or she can choose to entrust their whole health to their provider. And many do.
Dr. Wayne Beauford became a physician to serve the underserved. Having grown up in the rural South at a time when certain people were prevented from accessing the same medical care others took for granted, he knows the value of having a family doctor. While he is a specialist, he also knows that when patients come to see him at Bethany Medical, they are introduced to the host of other services offered by the largest independent health care provider in the region. The menu includes primary care, urgent care, specialty care, women’s health, weight loss, chronic illness and pain management, and more.
While a patient might come to a Bethany clinic for one reason or another, once there he or she can choose to entrust their whole health to their provider. And many do. In addition, because of the language barrier, patients often bring a loved one, often of another generation, along to translate or to explain in more relatable ways the sometimes-complicated medical advice they might receive. Adult children bring their elderly parents. Young parents bring their adolescent children in for care. Inevitably, the accompanying loved one stays or schedules an appointment to be seen themselves.
“That is where we pick up a lot of them too because they saw us taking care of their mom and dad, and we are then caring for them too,” Dr. Beauford said. “It becomes almost like a package deal.”
Despite its distinctive blue and white color scheme and unique logo, Dr. Beauford mused that Bethany Medical remains unknown to a substantial portion of the Triad. Those who do know of the provider might hold some misconceptions of it, thinking perhaps that Bethany only provides urgent care or pain management. Neither is true and the latter carries with it a stigma born out of the opioid epidemic. Dr. Beauford hopes to dispel any mistruths. What one often sees with some other pain management clinics is not so with Bethany Medical, he explained. There are rigorous criteria in place to qualify patients, to prevent drug seekers from using the system for ulterior motives, and for expelling those who are caught doing so.
“I think the administration has done their due diligence to make sure they check all the boxes — the testing, the screening, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations,” Dr. Beauford said.
“If we see someone is abusing the system, they are discharged from the practice,” he added.
For those who genuinely require pain management care, there is a more whole-health approach applied at Bethany Medical. Bethany Medical providers work with patients to diagnose ailments more accurately, treat them, and wherever possible heal the root causes of chronic pain issues. It begins with the evaluation process of both the body and the mental health of the patient, Dr. Beauford said. In 2021, Founder and CEO Dr. Lenny Peters and President Elise Peters Carey renamed the clinic at North Main Street in High Point the Dr.Wayne Beauford Clinic in honor of his more than 30 years of service.
Bethany Medical is a minority-owned business. It has been since it was founded back in 1987. Not only that, but its diversity, equity and inclusion extend from ownership and the executive level down through the company. From physicians to physician assistants and nurse practitioners to the office staff, support personnel and even its suppliers, Bethany is among the most – if not the most – diverse health care providers in the area, Dr. Beauford said. As a Black doctor raised in a region where there was little to no access to medical care, that is an important distinction.
“You are not going to find another institution that employs as many people as we do, as far as percentage-wise, of diverse (populations),” he said.
The idea ties right back into the diversity of the patient populations the organization serves. Proximity and relatability matter, people want to be treated close to home and by someone whose appearance and cultural experience look like their own. Both are accomplished by delivering the care where it is needed, Dr. Beauford explained.
“Putting clinics where the people are, not where they are not,” he said. It is the modern-day equivalent of having a local doctor – or midwife – who makes house calls, treating patients from her little black bag.