Floyd Willis, M.D.
Mayo Clinic in Florida
After completing a family medicine residency at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Dr. Floyd Willis established a thriving solo practice in a Georgia community of 10,000. "It was very busy and rewarding," he says. "But the business aspects of private practice were tough."
In 1992, Mayo asked him if he wanted to help start Family Practice in Florida. He didn't hesitate to say "yes."
Mayo has offered him just the right mix of research, teaching and patient care, which includes outpatient care and minor surgical procedures for patients ranging from newborns to 99-year-olds. "What's great is that many of my patients I've known for more than a decade, and now they bring their kids to see me," he says.
Dr. Willis has found that the teamwork model of practice suits him well. "Members of my department support one another," he says, "and we share the same vision for patient care. Our group practice is great, due to the sum of all the people who work here."
While Dr. Willis focuses most of his attention on local community needs, his work ultimately has the potential to reach further. In 1997, he helped establish an indigent care clinic in Jacksonville. This work dovetailed perfectly with his research, which is devoted to investigating Alzheimer's disease in populations that are generally under-represented in research studies.
"There has not been normative data for normal memory in healthy African Americans in the South," notes Dr. Willis. Partnering with Mayo's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Dr. Willis collaborated with a neuropsychologist to develop a study to assess normal memory and cognition in older African-Americans from the South.
Besides his local patients, Dr. Willis also cares for international patients from Belgium, South Africa and elsewhere. "We're fortunate to have an International Medicine section that includes physicians from all walks of life and cultures who help care for international patients," he says.
"In today's society, all institutions have to be as functional in a global market as possible," says Dr. Willis. "Our services must constantly evolve to make certain we can help meet the needs of people from our increasingly 'flat' earth. Mayo has the infrastructure to do that."
In his office, Dr. Willis displays a plaque with a quote from Martin Luther King that reads, "Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame, but for greatness, because greatness is determined by service." Dr. Willis has found that this personal philosophy fits perfectly with Mayo's ideal of service.