People Helping People
Dr. Tom J. Meek, Jr. grew up in a small town in southern Arkansas where he began his medical education under the supervision of his father, a local doctor. Dr. Meek studied his father diligently as he delivered everything from cold remedies to babies, but found that his greatest lesson learned was not medical jargon or methodologies, but of the great satisfaction that comes from caring for others. He never considered any other occupation and following his graduation from high school in 1960, Dr. Meek enrolled in Tulane University where he received his medical degree in 1967.
After graduating from Tulane, he enlisted in the Navy as a general medical officer, a role in he served from 1967 to 1971. Upon completing his service, Dr. Meek worked as a general medical practitioner before returning to school to specialize in dermatology. He was inspired by a dermatologist he met while in the Navy and realized it was a profession perfectly suited to both helping others and working with his hands. Dr. Meek finished his dermatology specialization in 1975 and has been a credit to his field, with a particular interest in cancer care.
For Dr. Meek, this interest extended even after hours as he offered his time to perform free community skin cancer screenings through the Cancer Center’s Prevention on the Go program. He also served on the skin and soft tissue multidisciplinary care team at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center where he collaborated on best practices for the prevention and treatment of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers with individualized, comprehensive cancer care plans. Dr. Meek says he believes the strength of Mary Bird Perkins lies in this personalized treatment and care.
“We don’t treat cancer. We are people who treat people who happen to have cancer. And we do so with respect, intelligence and compassion.”
Now 75, and still spending two days a week in the practice, Dr. Meek reflects on the “great ride” of his medical career. For success in healthcare, he has only one rule: the golden rule. “Take care of others the way you would like to be taken care of,” said Dr. Meek. “I’ve always tried to care for my patients and meet their questions and concerns just as I would hope any physician would meet mine.”
In addition to his medical career dedicated to serving others, Dr. Meek also offers leadership to several local organizations, including the Cancer Center. He served on the Mary Bird Perkins Foundation Board from 1998 – 2001. He then joined the Cancer Center board of directors in 2006, where he has served on every board committee, culminating in his role as board chairman from 2013 to 2015 and Immediate Past Chairman from 2015 to 2017. He now holds the honorary role of Director Emeritus.
Dr. Meek’s lifelong dedication to compassionate care has touched many and continues to serve to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer.