Dr. LouAnn Woodward
By: Claire Winesett
Dr. LouAnn Woodward lives by the words she spoke over the MSU graduates in the May 2017 commencement address: proceed with courage.
A native of Carroll County, Mississippi, a county with just over 10,000 inhabitants, Woodward now holds leadership positions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), one of Mississippi’s largest employers with more than 10,000 full and part-time employees. Since graduating from MSU in 1985, Woodward has most definitely proceeded with courage.
Woodward received her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from MSU before moving to Jackson, Mississippi, to attend the school for which she would one day work. After completing medical school at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and her residency in emergency medicine at UMMC, Woodward stayed in her home state to begin her career in medicine.
She joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine, where she currently holds the rank of tenured professor. She has also served as associate vice chancellor, and in 2013 Woodward was appointed as a member of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education. On July 1, she began her term as chair of this organization, which is the accrediting body for all medical schools in the United States and Canada.
Since 2015, Woodward has supervised the overall strategic direction of the Medical Center as Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at UMMC. She is also the dean of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.
At MSU’s graduation ceremony in May 2017, Woodward spoke of how she would never have pictured herself holding the important positions she does now. Her journey began with normal undergraduate courses at MSU, her favorite of which was biochemistry.
“This is interesting both because I was not expecting to like it and because I did not like it as much in medical school,” Woodward said. Her favorite faculty member was Dr. Don Downer, her advisor.
Even after years of attending and working for another academic unit, Woodward says that her favorite thing about MSU is “the strong and unique sense of identity and community.”
“I haven’t experienced or observed the same strong sense of identity anywhere else,” Woodward added.
Woodward is a member of many prestigious organizations, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Mississippi State Medical Association, the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine, and the American College of Emergency Physicians. She also holds the rank of Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and was named Outstanding Business Woman by the Mississippi Business Journal in 2008.
All of these accomplishments aside, Woodward says “I can’t think of anything that makes me feel more proud than my four children, so I’d have to claim that as my greatest success!”
In her free time, Woodward likes to spend time at her home in Madison, Mississippi, reading, cooking and working in the yard.