Community celebrates 18th Dr. William Booker Day

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By Josh Troy
Clarksdale Advocate

Dr. William Booker has had a family practice at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center for 38 years. Booker has been a part of Aaron E. Henry’s growth and has helped provide the community services it otherwise would not have had. His achievements have been honored with an annual Dr. William Booker Day for the past 18 years.

Dr. William Booker Day has a wide range of activities, from games to music, and provides a chance for the community to come together. “It means that we get a chance to celebrate each other,” Booker said.

Booker reflected on his experiences over the past 38 years. “The Aaron Henry Health Center has just continued to grow year by year, but medical care in Clarksdale has shrunk tremendously,” he said. “We went from doctors on every corner to having to look for a doctor now.”

While there may be fewer doctors, the services Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center provides have expanded. “When I first came here in 1985, we had a single wood-frame building right down 49 there. In my office, there was a rat and a cricket that would come in every day, so I named the rat,” he said.

Booker named the rat Clyde. He said the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center provides more than just medicine. “They would actually come back in there, and I would feed them,” said Booker of the rat and cricket. “We just had that one-frame building, but since then, we’ve grown to clinics in Tunica, clinics in Batesville, clinics in Coldwater, and we’ve got four, five, or six school-based clinics, and we’ve got four or five mobile units. So we have really expanded.”

Booker hopes that more doctors will work at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center in the future. “What we would like to do is recruit more doctors to this area because there’s a dire need for more doctors in this area since hospital care is dwindling,” he said. “So more outpatient care is what’s needed, and we’ve lost bunches and bunches of doctors.”

Booker said there will be plenty of work for any doctor who comes to Clarksdale. “There’s a lot of sickness and illness still in the Mississippi Delta,” he said. “We need more and more people to combat that every day.”

Booker said the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center is a good place to work. “I enjoy the work that I do,” he said. “I enjoy the people that I work with. I look forward to continuing the services here.”

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