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Dr. Brent Baker: Strong Roots and a Passion for Helping Others

Suzi McKee • Aug 12, 2019 at 11:02 AM

Brent Baker, a Sullivan Central High School graduate, gives a lot of credit for his successes in life to God, his parents (Lloyd and Connie Baker), and a host of Christian mentors who have helped him throughout his life. Every Saturday morning as he was growing up, Brent and his Dad worked on the family’s sheep farm in Mendota, Virginia. “My wife Jacquelyn and I have a lot of roots in this area,” Brent began with a smile. “I’ve had a wonderful childhood surrounded by strong people who steered me in the right direction as I made choices about my future.”

Brent ran cross country and played soccer in high school and his appearance at one soccer tryout helped him forge a friendship that would be instrumental in the selection of King College as his post-secondary educational adventure.

“I went to a tryout that I had no business going to,” Brent laughed. “I just wasn’t that good as a soccer player, but it was a God-thing I truly believe. At this tryout, I met Matt Lavinder who was the head soccer coach at King. He began to ask me about my grades and continued to keep in touch with me as I drew closer to college.”

Brent ended up going to King University for his undergraduate work and even landed a nice $6,000 scholarship to help pay the costs of his tuition. “We’re a middle-class family and school was just very expensive for my parents. When I learned of the scholarship, they told me to apply. As it turned out, no one else had applied for that money so I received it. I found that this sort of thing happened to me throughout my life.” By having a strong Christian mother who continually prayed for her son, Brent was keenly aware that God was really in control of his life and that such moments would happen.

Medical school at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine was a “humbling but rewarding” experience in Brent’s eyes. “I was challenged on every level and had to make hard decisions that I thought would be easy to make,” he added. In high school, Brent thought he wanted to be a veterinarian because of his work on the farm but as he picked up part-time jobs at Chili’s and then a summer job at Eastman, he quickly learned he preferred to work with people rather than animals. With an outgoing personality and a genuine interest in making life better for those around him, Brent began to mentally make notes during his rotations in medical school of which doctors he wanted to be like.

With a mission trip to Ghana and another to Camden, New Jersey, Brent began to see the need for medical care that is basic to survival. “In Ghana, we went into the operating room in socks and flip flops and watched as they used Germex to clean wounds. I learned the blessings that we have here in the U.S. and how different environments can make the difference in good medical care,” Brent continued. “We worked in orphanages in Ghana with children who were shunned or ridiculed by their peers. It really opened my eyes to the needs I could help fill.”

After a four-week rotation in Charleston at an outstanding hospital richly blessed with cutting-edge equipment and top-notch doctors, Brent began to turn from his interest in gastrointestinal medicine to family medicine. “I just wanted to interact with people instead of studying charts and graphs,” Brent explained. During one four-hour session we just looked at all this data and never once touched or came in contact with a patient.”

At that point, Brent called his friend and mentor, Dr. Jason Moore, and expressed his desire to change his interview applications from the gastrointestinal path to family medicine. “I switched all my paperwork at the last possible second and was accepted by ETSU Family Medicine in Bristol. That’s another God-thing in my life.”

“This is my home,” Brent added, “and I want to help everyone here that I can to improve their quality of life. I’m all about prevention and a total wellness approach for my patients. I’m very conservative when it comes to medication and feel that if we prevent illness in the first place, the patient can enjoy their life without limitations.”

As an avid mountain biker, Brent understands the positive results from living a healthy lifestyle. “Knowing how to improve your well-being without a lot of medications makes life much more enjoyable,” Brent added.

On August 1, Brent became one of the 17 doctors at Mountain Region Family Medicine. “It’s a great place,” Brent continued. “It’s a small, independent, private practice where the doctors on staff make all the decisions instead of turning everything over to a board that has no patient care experience.”

Brent will be accepting new patients from 13 years and older at The Press Building, Suite 2800, in Downtown Kingsport and invites the community to experience the Mountain Region Family Medicine way of conducting business. Readers can call (423) 230-2801 to schedule an appointment with this hometown boy who grew up with a desire to give back to his community.

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