Standing side-by-side in the hallway of The Family Clinic, Dr. Steven Brandon and Dr. Emily Landrum quietly type notes on their laptops. Dr. Brandon appears to have a bit of trouble with his computer, and when asked if Dr. Landrum ever has to help him with technology, he quickly responds with a “no.” She smiles and shakes her head, yes. This working relationship between father and daughter is a balance between experience and wisdom and a contemporary knowledge of medicine.
“We’ve worked really well together,” said Dr. Brandon about his daughter. “It’s great working with someone that I know and appreciate and can count on for information.”
Both Dr. Brandon and Dr. Landrum graduated from Starkville High School, received their undergraduate degrees from Millsaps College, and their medical degrees from the University of Mississippi Medical School. They also admittedly have very similar personalities.
“We’re equally hard-headed and a little obsessive with getting things right,” said Dr. Brandon.
After completing her residency in 2018, Dr. Landrum joined her father at The Family Clinic and became a third-generation family medicine physician. The foundation of The Family Clinic is built upon a legacy started more than 60 years ago when Dr. Brandon’s father, Dr. Leonard Brandon, began practicing family medicine in Starkville. Just like an old family recipe, their approach of caring for the whole patient is a legacy that has been handed down for generations.
Starkville resident Pie Mallory is one of the many patients who has received care from all three generations of the Brandon family. In 1967, Dr. Leonard Brandon delivered her firstborn, and she even remembers him making house calls.
“When my mother used to visit and her allergies would flare up, I could call him and he would make a house call and give her a shot or do whatever he needed to do to help her,” recalled Mallory.
Dr. Steven Brandon was by his dad’s side during many of his house calls and patient rounds at the then Felix Long Memorial Hospital. He remembers wanting to be a doctor even at the age of five.
“I never contemplated doing anything different for as long as I can remember, and I still love it,” said Dr. Brandon.
Dr. Landrum’s realization of wanting to become a doctor came later when she was in high school. While her sister Caroline felt working one summer at the clinic was enough for her, Dr. Landrum enjoyed filing charts and working in medical records.
“I have a distinct memory of many of our patients’ names because I used to file charts starting at age 14 and continued working at the clinic during the summers throughout high school and college,” said Dr. Landrum.
“I remember her [Dr. Landrum] being in the office with her dad when she was younger. She was always a fixture there, and now she’s come back to Starkville. How lucky are we?! She is a very intelligent, sharp woman,” said Mallory, who stated that she has already seen Dr. Landrum as a patient.
A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of primary care and specialty physicians by 2030, making new physicians like Dr. Landrum even more crucial to communities. During 2018, OCH Regional Medical Center added three primary care providers, including Dr. Landrum, to its medical staff.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind—taking care of families for their entire lifetime, and family medicine is really the only specialty that gives you the opportunity to do that. I’ve had great role models in my dad and grandfather to help me to aspire to achieve that goal,” Dr. Landrum said.
While Dr. Leonard Brandon did not live to see his granddaughter graduate from medical school, his wife, Rae Brandon, has been able to see Dr. Landrum continue her grandfather’s legacy.
“If he could be here today, he would puff up like a peacock because we were so happy when Steven joined him in practice, and to have our grandchild here now is very special. I just think it’s unreal and fantastic,” said Mrs. Brandon, who worked as Dr. Leonard Brandon’s nurse when the clinic was founded.
So much has changed since Dr. Leonard Brandon began practicing medicine. The house on University Drive where he once saw his patients is now located in a neighborhood near Old West Point Road, and the existing clinic has been renovated. While Drs. Brandon and Landrum do not deliver babies but still offer well-baby and pediatrics care, and charts now exist in the computer instead of a bookshelf. What remains the same, though, is the family tradition that was established more than six decades ago of putting the patient first, treating each one like family and caring for them through all stages of life.