All in the Family: Brothers follow in parents’ footsteps
By Megan Smith
Staff Photo by Megan Smith
Dr. Ronnie Fullwood has been practicing in his current facility on West Court Avenue in Selmer for twenty-five years.
For Patrick and Brian Fullwood, a career in the medical field always made sense after seeing the success of their parents.
Joan Fullwood, Patrick and Brian’s mother, works as a speech pathologist at Hardin Medical Center. The boys’ father, Ronnie, owns his own dentistry practice in Selmer.
Dr. Ronnie Fullwood grew up in Shiloh. He said that he loved working with people and even considered being a doctor when he was younger. However, he knew doctors often got up early and worked late and had difficulty having a family. Dr. Fullwood stated that he decided to become a dentist because he knew his work would be more scheduled and allow for more time to have a family.
After he graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in 1981, Ronnie Fullwood went into practice with Dr. Jim Yancy in Adamsville for about five years.
Then, Dr. Fullwood moved to Selmer and leased the building in which he currently practices. His father helped him to fix that building up, and he has been practicing in it for twenty-five years.
Patrick Fullwood, who is now a senior at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, said concerning his decision to go into dentistry, “ I was always interested in science, and I had always been aware of healthcare from both of my parents.”
Ronnie says that he believes his son’s growing up around up his dentistry practice did cause him to want to follow in his footsteps to an extent.
Brian Fullwood plans to start at the University of Tennessee Medical School in the fall. Brian had always been interested in science. He began shadowing professionals in different areas of the medical field while in high school and eventually realized that medicine, rather than dentistry like his father and brother, was the path for him.
Brian said, “I saw how rewarding the field had been for my dad, but I wanted to choose my own path, so I chose what was best for me and what I enjoy the most: medicine.”
Ronnie says that he believes that his wife Joan’s career as a speech pathologist has also greatly influenced both of the boys’ decisions to pursue careers in the medical field.
After Patrick finishes dental school in the spring, he plans to move back to Selmer to open a new practice with his father Ronnie. The practice will be located on Mulberry Avenue next to Bancorp South
“McNairy County is home to me. I’ve always known I’ve wanted to live there. My wife is also from there. We wanted to be around family and friends. It is a good place to raise children. They can have the same experiences we did,” said Patrick.
Ronnie says that the building he is currently leasing for his practice has become like home. He will miss the place but says that it just is not big enough for two dentists to practice in.
The team plans to begin moving into the new facility in the next six to eight months. They hope to start working in the facility after Patrick graduates in late spring or early summer.
Brian also believes that he will someday return to the area because his family is here.
“I know medical school and residency may take me somewhere else, but I’ll always have close ties here,” said Brian.
The similarities in the members of the Fullwood family do not stop with their shared interest in medicine. Also, Ronnie, Patrick, and Brian all enjoy the outdoors.
The family owns a farm and has been farming Black Angus cattle for some time now.
Ronnie said that, for him, farming the cattle serves as a get away. Patrick and Brian also enjoy the farming and hay cutting.
Outside of farming, Ronnie participates in civil war reenactments. He is in the Calvary and says that he loves history.
Patrick stated that he enjoyed swimming, and Brian likes fishing, hunting and collecting.