Patrick Griffith, MD
FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Patrick Griffith, MD, followed in his family’s footsteps when he decided to join the medical field. His mother and sister enjoyed being nurse midwives in Guyana, South America, often talking to young Patrick about how appreciative their patients were. As a boy, he played cricket with friends, but his big dreams involved becoming a physician and working alongside his family.
At 17, in 1962, Patrick moved from Guyana to the U.S., to rejoin his parents who had immigrated to New York City five years earlier; he became a naturalized citizen. Six years later, Patrick enrolled in medical school at Howard University in Washington, DC. After his first year, he was “very lucky” to secure a summer job at Freedmen’s Hospital with Dr. Jesse Barber, the 5th board-certified black neurosurgeon. In 1971, Dr. Griffith matched in Internal Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (one of Harvard University’s teaching hospitals in Boston) and was chosen to be a neurology resident in their Harvard Longwood Program.
Dr. Griffith was commissioned into the US Air Force during his neurology residency “to serve my new country,” he says with pride. He served in the US Army Reserves rising to the rank of Colonel before retiring having earned the Army Commendation Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals. Those aren’t his only recognitions, though. In 1976, Dr. Griffith became a Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Dr. Griffith has taught students and cared for patients for more than 40 years, including time at Emory University School of Medicine, Grady Memorial Hospital, Morehouse School of Medicine and in private hospitals – all in Atlanta.
The bonds of SCNS friendship run deep for Dr. Griffith. He had to miss the meeting in 1991 during his active duty tour of Desert Shield, Desert Storm. Showing their support, the membership signed and mailed a 4-foot tall card to him. That gesture has stuck with Dr. Griffith for nearly three decades since and he looks forward to reuniting with all his friends each January, his wife Marcia accompanying him. The couple have enjoyed traveling together since they married in 1969. Occasionally he still sings to her – that is, after all, how he won her over. Patrick and Marcia met while singing in the choir at St. Lydia’s Episcopal Church, where he was the only male tenor.