Meet Evelyn Montgomery Jones, MD, a dermatologist from Paducah, Ky. who is leading a community initiative to make Paducah the first Blue Zone in Kentucky
Board Certified by American Board of Dermatology and KMA Alternate Trustee
Husband of 30 years: Shawn C. Jones, MD
Three adult children: Rebecca Jones, Shawn Curtis Jones, Jr. and Caleb Jones
Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, reading, cycling, walking and hiking. Experiencing, with family, ANY new place fitted with learning opportunities, fun outdoor activities, and of course some relaxing time for reading is a perfect vacation for me.
Favorite Drink: Hot tea! I especially enjoy green tea. I LOVE experiencing afternoon tea, English style, in new places.
Favorite Book: I can only pick one? Impossible!! 🙂 These are a smattering of some of my favorites from this last year:
Health and Wellness/Professional:
“Blue Zones Solutions” by Dan Buettner
“Happiness” by Dan Buettner
“It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig
“No Grain, No Pain” by Dr. Peter Osborne
“The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dale Bredesen, MD
“The Swift Diet” by Nancy Swift
“Leading At A Higher Level” by Ken Blanchard
“Daily Chronological Bible” by F. LaGard Smith
“Strong Women Soft Hearts” by Paula Rinehart
“Anxious For Nothing” by Max Lucado
“Strangers In A Strange Land” by Charles J Chaput
“Lever and A Place To Stand” by Richard Rohr
“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown
“Rising Strong” by Brene Brown
“Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie
“Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow
Medical News: Why did you become a doctor?
Evelyn Montgomery Jones, MD: My father, Wally Montgomery, a retired General Surgeon, exposed me to this profession at an early age. I honestly do not remember a time in my early life that I did not want to become a doctor and it seems I was always attracted to having a role in guiding people on their journey to good health. When I was a junior in high school, my Advanced Biology teacher encouraged me to participate in an advanced project where we did an autotransplantation of the pancreas in guinea pigs to determine viability. My father taught me how to suture and was with me during the entire process but would not do any of the work for me. This empowered me to believe in the hope of new developments to improve health and healing for future patients. So, overall, my love for people and my desire for all people to own their health and feel their best lead me to continue on my course to becoming a physician.
MN: Why did you choose this particular specialty?
EMJ: I fell in love with dermatology for several reasons:
I am a visual learner and dermatology is a field where you can have full visual aspect to the organ being treated. I enjoy the variety in a dermatology practice with a combination of surgical and medical work; young and old; male and female patients. Many times the skin diseases and changes on the skin are a reflection of other systemic issues in the body, making a visual inspection and possible biopsy easier access for diagnostic testing. Dermatology provides meaningful opportunities to discuss how lifestyle choices impact skin disease and skin health.
Caring for self-conscious teenagers due to acne and helping them regain self-confidence as the acne becomes controlled as well as also being able to improve comfort and confidence in psoriasis patients and frequently clearing the skin completely are rewarding opportunities.
Through dermatology care, children suffering with eczema or atopic dermatitis and chronic itching, relief and improvement can follow. Dermatology directly impacts skin cancer, especially Melanoma, one of the fastest growing cancers especially in young women in their 20’s, related to tanning bed usage as well as UVL exposure.
MN: Tell us about the Blue Zones. How you are leading a community initiative to make Paducah the first “blue zone” in Kentucky?
EMJ: I am passionate about the preventive side of medicine: health and wholeness as it relates to nutrition, physical activity, mindfulness and stress reduction since I battled with my own health issues several years ago. This took me on a journey to build on the wellness information from medical school and truly study in depth how our lifestyle choices are in many circumstances the root of many diseases as well as the vehicle for healing.
I have read about Blue Zones since Dan Buettner released his first book on studying the 5 pockets in the world where people live the longest and happiest lives. The follow up work to this book, involves bringing Blue Zones to communities in America. I dreamed from the time I read that book about Paducah, KY becoming the first Blue Zones community in Kentucky. The need is great with Kentucky ranked repeatedly as the 49th healthiest state and our city rated at or below the state level on almost every measurable health parameter. The cost of doing nothing is paralyzing. The potential for more people to live healthy, fulfilling lives absolutely empowers me.
After becoming a KMA Community Connector, I applied for and received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care to bring Tony Buettner and Ben Leedle, with Blue Zones to Paducah for an informational presentation with 80-100 key people in our community. That followed with us raising $25,000.00 to bring the Blue Zones National Team for a 2 day site visit where it was determined that Paducah was a good fit for them and that we were “ready”. They gave us a proposal for a 3.5 year project in Paducah to become a Blue Zone Community and we are in the process with the Mayor and our Local Blue Zones Steering Committee to raise the funds to move forward. Blue Zones has been implemented in 42 communities in our country and in ALL of them, using the reproducible Gallup Well-being Index, have moved the needle in overall health and wellness with an ROI of millions in each community.
MN: What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
EMJ: Most people would probably be surprised to think of me as an introvert! But I am. I love people and I enjoy interacting and encouraging them to know their worth and value! I love hearing peoples’stories. My day to day world is very outward, listening and caring for patients, staff and people in general, pouring out! My husband, an otolaryngologist, even jokes that people will take their clothes off for me everywhere we go. Dermatology is a visual field, so it is “easy” for people to catch me out at a restaurant or the grocery store or the park and show me something on their skin. With the addition of smart phones, people will also text me photos of their rash, moles, etc. I do not mind this at all. However, I do need my time to downshift. So my way to care for me and to de-stress is to spend time alone … reading my Bible, journaling my prayers, drinking some hot tea, enjoying some yoga. As an introvert, uninterrupted “alone time” is my way to recharge.
MN: What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
EMJ: Best pieces of advice:
- “Let go of living for others’ expectations of you, and live your life out with a fearless and courageous heart.” My husband and my three children have all said this to me in their own way and at different times. How I love them!!!
- “Remember on the days that you feel you have given all you can give and you still get stopped by someone with a health question: This is your ministry…..not just to your patients in your office, but to your staff, your friends, your acquaintances and those perfect strangers you meet in your “way”. Embrace it and be grateful for it.” (By a close friend.)
MN: What is your motto? Why?
EMJ: My professional mission: To educate and encourage others towards excellence in wellness and healing in their lives for the glory of God thereby equipping and empowering them to impact others.
WellSprings Dermatology, my company is named for Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart for from it flows the wellsprings of life.” And this world truly tries to destroy our hearts, leading to undue comparisons and an all-time high level of anxiety, addiction, and suicide.
Personally: To live fully and with purpose for God and to be all used up when He calls me home to heaven.
MN: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?
EMJ: If I was not a doctor, I would most likely be a type of life coach that worked with others to live out their best life with intention and well being, guiding them to make wise lifestyle choices that fit their desires.
MN: Who are your heroes in healthcare?
EMJ: “Healthcare Heroes”
- My father, Wally O Montgomery, MD, a retired General Surgeon: I hear on a daily basis from patients and hospital staff that he was: The most kind and compassionate doctor to them or their family members, many times crying when he had to give them any bad news. The most skilled and efficient surgeon using both hands and a Kefir needle to close his wounds.
- My husband, Shawn Jones, MD, a practicing otolaryngologist, who truly loves his calling and his patients. He also has a special place in his heart for serving those who do not have normal access to health care such as many in Romania, Honduras, Kenya and locally, the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs. His face lights up when he speaks of the hand bumps, hugs, dances that he experiences with them. His desire and work to master the Spanish language to speak directly to those patients is truly beautiful!
- All physicians, such as Semmelweis, who were deemed “crazy” when forging new skills, knowledge or technology, and did not give up!!!
MN: How do you go the extra mile, above and beyond your daily tasks to improve patient care, community health or hospital operations?
EMJ: I find it challenging to be self-reflective in this way because so many people go above and beyond in their own special ways. I do what I feel called to do in the moment but even more importantly, I strive to be intentional about my legacy.
As a very internal and reflective person who believes my Christian faith is the most important aspect of my life I desired early on to leave something of eternal value with all of my staff and the patients that walk through our doors every week.
- So we begin every morning of our work day with prayer… to lift up each other, to know what challenges each of us have brought in the door with us for the day, to pray specifically for patients, pharmaceutical reps, etc. who have asked us to include them in our prayer.
- Once every quarter, I spend a considerable amount of prayerful time putting together 12 scriptures and inspiring quotes that are later printed on business card stock. We hand a new quote card out every week to every person who comes through our doors.
- We keep a “Daily Chronological Bible” by F LaGard Smith in each exam room for patients to look at while waiting or to just give away to anyone who wants one or to anyone we feel called to give one too.
- To all of our subscribers, we send out monthly newsletters filled with educational skin health information, specials at our SkinCare Corner, and uplifting inspirational messages.
- Blog Posts: Educational info to debunk so many skin care myths and to educate people on overall skin health.
- Routinely research skin care and offer the most effective and money conscious make up and skin care options in a multi-billion dollar industry that is consumed with false advertising and products that don’t live up to their claims. In an age of come and go skin care, I work diligently to build and keep a trustworthy reputation.
- Healthy skin is beautiful skin. Nutritional information is critical to having healthy, beautiful skin as well as optimizing overall health and wellbeing. I am a Distributor of Juice Plus because I believe it is the most effective way to get the needed 13-17 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to optimize health and prevent chronic disease. It is that extra insurance I truly believe we all need. Not a gimmick or a vitamin, but a true nutritional supplement that complements smart food choices.
- I strive to find unique ways to pour into and give to my 21 dear staff members that work so hard for our company and for our patients.
- Joy Nights monthly for fun and togetherness outside of work
- Monthly staff meetings
- Prayer journal at the end of year Christmas party
- Theme for every year’s focus and subsequent strategies to implement all year.
- Put a gym in our office building for employee use.
I speak, as my schedule allows, to my community and nationwide on skin health, wellness, Christian values and self-worth.