Missouri transplant Dr. Derek Miles enjoys serving Bolivar County
By Jack Criss
The Bolivar Bullet
Dr. Derek Miles, a Cleveland urologist who serves the entire Delta region–including East Arkansas, in Helena–is celebrating the 20th year of the opening of his practice which took place in August of 2002. The Kansas City native said he now considers himself a true “Deltan” and has a passion for his work and serving his many patients in the region.
“I came to Cleveland fresh out of residency at the University of Missouri and started my urology practice,” said Miles. “Now, I’m kind of the proverbial ‘last man standing!’ I’m one of the few full-time urologists–and physicians–in the Delta still keeping up his practice because so many others have either retired or moved on.
“I didn’t know initially if the job was going to be long-term, at first,” said Miles. “I signed a three-year contract to pay back student loans and just see what would happen. Quickly, though, I got so busy and started to love this town and my practice. There is a tremendous need in this region for my services and, now, I’m the only one who can provide those services. I feel like I truly make a difference here, as opposed to being just another doctor in the crowd in, say, Atlanta or Dallas.”
But, isn’t being the “last man standing” stressful?
“That’s a great point,” answered Miles. “But, for me, it is not. I’ve tailored my practice in such a way where I have an ambulatory clinic and out-patient surgery, so it’s not that I’m doing incredibly complex work. My work-life balance is a good, satisfying one.”
Looking back on his arrival to Cleveland, Miles said he immediately felt welcomed.
“Did I think I would stay here for 20 years? Probably not,” admitted Miles. “But, the people here are wonderful and I enjoyed myself so much. There was a definite need here and my wife at the time and I fell in love with the town and the Delta. When I look back, I can’t find anything negative about my time here.”
Was there a high point or pinnacle during his 20-year career practicing in Cleveland?
“I can’t pinpoint anything specific,” said Miles. “I think, in retrospect, it’s just the whole, total experience of my time here–the practice, the patients, the relationships I’ve forged. When I had paid off my student loan, after my first three years in Cleveland, I could have left. But, I remember thinking that this was the place I wanted to stay and raise my children, Darby and Crawford. And I’ll go further: I fully expect to be here for another 20 years, or longer. I’ll retire here gladly” he said.
Miles said he’s impressed with how Cleveland has progressed and grown in the 20 years he’s been in town. “Cleveland is incredible,” he said, “and I could not be more honored to practice and be based here and serve the Delta community. It’s now 20 years down and 20 more to go, in my mind. I’m one of those rare physicians these days–a surgical specialist– who has been able to stay in a community for this long. And I don’t plan to go anywhere.”