Dr. Tamara Huff, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, could have chosen to practice anywhere, but she chose to return home to practice at St. Francis Orthopaedic Institute. Among her many notable works and achievements is certification in clinical and translational science, the cornerstone of the future of medicine. This highly interdisciplinary approach to medicine and science is aimed at curing and treating patients by translating research findings and data into new diagnostic tools, procedures, medicines, and policies. Dr. Huff is now part of the St. Francis Orthopaedic Institute, where she specializes in a comprehensive approach to musculoskeletal care throughout the continuum of life.
An international presenter on medicine, surgery, and mentoring and training issues, Dr. Huff has also taught professional workshops at medical conferences and classes at universities such as the Morehouse School of Medicine. Her research and thought leadership articles, papers, and posters have been published in several prestigious peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed medical journals.
Dr. Huff earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and completed her residency training at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Besides translational science, she has earned certification in Advanced Trauma Life Support. She is also certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Society for Health Care Epidemiology of America. Following her training, Dr. Huff began practicing medicine in the Mayo Clinic Health System and joined St. Francis on August 1.
Born and raised in Columbus, Dr. Huff graduated from George Washington Carver High School and followed her passion for medicine from an early age. As a youth, she volunteered as a Candy Striper at St. Francis and worked as a Physical Therapy Aid for HPRC. While at Carver, she shadowed now-retired orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Emory Alexander at River City Orthopaedics for four years. Those experiences cemented her desire to become an orthopaedic surgeon.
We recently sat with Dr. Huff. Here is our “Candid Conversation”.
Courier: With so many opportunities at your feet, why choose to join the St. Francis Orthopaedic Institute?
Dr. Huff: “This is an outstanding group of talented surgeons, representing a variety of orthopaedic specialties. In addition to providing extraordinary care, the physicians are committed to serving the community. I’m very passionate about community outreach, in particular women’s health and wellness.”
Courier: Was it a difficult decision to make?
Dr. Huff: “It really wasn’t. It is a privilege and an honor to come back to Columbus to take care of the people who’ve taken care of me. My family is here. I attend the same church where I grew up. Frankly, I always planned to come back to Columbus to practice, but thought it would be later in life. I learned (through the interview process) that these are the right people, this is the right place, and it’s the right time for me to come home.”
Courier: When did you realize you wanted a career in medicine?
Dr. Huff: I was raised in a family committed to serving others. It is our passion and our purpose. In middle school, I realized medicine would be my way to serve others.
Courier: When did you decide the field of orthopaedic surgery would be your focus?
Dr. Huff: I am unusual in that I decided on orthopaedics very early in life. Dr. Emory Alexander was my introduction to orthopaedics when I was injured playing soccer in middle school. I later had an opportunity to see a surgery. The tools, the patients, the procedures, I was sold! I’ve always worked with my hands restoring properties with my mother. In orthopaedics, I could help people by restoring function to their bodies.
Courier: Have you ever had any interest in going into the family business of funeral service?
Dr. Huff: While I grew up around our family business, Charles E. Huff’s International Funeral Home Inc., I have never considered pursuing a career in funeral service. However, both the funeral industry and medicine share the same core values of caring for people in their darkest hours.
Courier: What is the future of orthopedic surgery?
Dr. Huff: Orthopaedics is trending towards individualized medicine and incorporating technology to increase patient satisfaction. As our population ages, it becomes even more important to take the entire person into account when making treatment decisions to improve our patients’ quality of life.
Dr. Tamara Huff is the daughter of Muscogee county Tax Commissioner Lula Huff and local businessman Charles Huff owner of Charles E. Huff’s International Funeral Home, Inc. Her office is located at the St. Francis Orthopaedic Institute, 2300 Manchester Expressway in the Woodruff Pavilion, Suite 101A.