Dr. Patricia Dix has worked to make CoxHealth the regional destination for high-risk pregnancies.
In 1988, she relocated to Springfield to start and direct the health system’s regional perinatal center, which now serves mothers in more than 30 counties in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. The regional referral center staff delivers some 3,500 babies annually, according to CoxHealth.com. Prior to the center’s inception, Dix says high-risk mothers often were transferred to Columbia or St. Louis.
“There are literally thousands of children, now young adults, who are alive today because I cared for their mothers during high-risk pregnancies,” says Dix, director of CoxHealth’s regional perinatal center. “I have built a highly effective, compassionate and respected practice.”
But not all high-risk pregnancy situations are victories.
That’s why Dix prides herself on training CoxHealth labor and delivery nurses to develop compassionate communications skills. Her office also supplies books to parents, grandparents and siblings to help them cope when a child is lost.
“My proudest accomplishment is helping families whose baby will or has died,” she says. “It is a difficult and emotionally draining task.
“It can be done badly and the family may be scarred for life.”
Dix’s work earned her a place on the CoxHealth Board of Directors, where health system President and CEO Steve Edwards says she’s highly valued.
“She has served and provided valuable feedback during challenging and exciting times for our health system,” Edwards says.
An example is the $130 million expansion to CoxHealth completed in 2015, which he says Dix helped to spearhead. The 343,000-square-foot project at Cox South added 28 private rooms in a neonatal intensive care unit on the ground floor and 32 private postpartum nursing and support spaces on the second floor.
Edwards also points to Dix’s work with the CoxHealth Foundation to create the Bethlehem Fund, offering financial assistance to mothers with health needs and limited funds, as well as her volunteer time providing gynecological care for uninsured patients.
“Dr. Dix inspires me in the way she unselfishly devotes herself to her patients, her family, her friends and the community,” Edwards says. “She has dedicated her life to care for others and is always putting them before herself.
In her position, Dix has helped to train all of the CoxHealth family practice residents. She’s also an instructor for physician assistants and helps train the next generation of doctors for the University of Missouri School of Medicine’s Queen City campus in partnership with CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital Springfield.
Dix has been a member of the American Medical Women’s Association since 1968, and also is involved with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Greene County Medical Association.
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.