For the last 22 years, one Fort Stockton doctor has been using her talents to take care of the inmates at the two local prisons.
Sheri J. Talley, originally thought she would only stay for a few years after closing her private practice but she continues to advance her career.
Last month she awarded the highest honor among Texas family doctors by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians.
She was named the 2019 Texas Family Physician of the Year during TAFP’s Annual Session and Primary Care Summit in The Woodlands on Nov. 9.
“I was really surprised,” said Talley. “I am very humbled that they selected me.”
Each year, patients and physicians nominate extraordinary family physicians throughout Texas who symbolize excellence and dedication in family medicine. A panel of TAFP members chooses one as the family physician of the year.
After almost a decade in private practice, Talley transitioned to correctional care at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility in Fort Stockton, where she cares for incarcerated patients.
She is the Southern Regional Medical Director supervising medical directors at eight Texas department of criminal justice facilities.
Talley grew up in West Texas and returned after residency to practice full-spectrum family medicine in the medically underserved area of Fort Stockton.
She switched to working the prisons because the Monday to Friday schedule allowed her to be home more with her small children.
“It's a really nice lifestyle,” said Talley.
Her involvement with organized medicine began in medical school as TAFP Student Affairs Committee Chair and then Resident Chair.
She served as New Physician Delegate to the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates and as part of the American Medical Association Delegation representing AAFP in the Young Physicians Section. Talley became the first female and youngest TAFP President, serving from 1996 to 1997.
Family physicians like Talley are qualified to work in all major medical areas and trained to treat more than 90 percent of all cases they encounter. Family physicians care for patients of all ages.
When transitioning to work for the prison systems she had to learn new security protocols in order to serve the patients.
“It was kind of a culture shock,” said Talley.
After several decades of work, Talley is going to retire next year and transition into a tele-medicine doctor that will allow her to travel.
The work will be through Texas Tech and serves as an alternative to a walk in clinic.
She plans to travel around in her RV with her husband of 36 years, Jim, and will be able to serve patients as long as she has internet.
“I've worked for Texas Tech for 22 years and I've really enjoyed my time with them,” said Talley.