Marion OB-GYN gives back to the community that gave so much to him
In 1995, Marion was facing a shortage of practicing OB-GYN physicians. Three doctors were retiring and a critical gap loomed. Jay Moodley, MD, born and raised in South Africa, was finishing his residency in Texas and was on OhioHealth Marion General Hospital’s short list of potential new physicians to replace the retiring doctors.
Even though he had opportunities in other cities, Moodley chose the small-town life of Marion for his practice. Ask why he decided to live so far from home, and Moodley will tell you he is home. Moodley was no stranger to Marion. He got to know the community as an exchange student in 1979. Linda and Lowell Thurston, owners of Carroll’s Jewelers, were his exchange parents, and he graduated from Harding High School in 1980. Following a three-year stint in the Army, he went to The Ohio State University for his undergraduate and medical degrees.
“As an exchange student, what really impressed me about Marion was how the community and my classmates took in this kid from Africa,” recalls Moodley. “I made lifelong friends at Harding; Marion felt like my hometown. I felt an obligation to take care of it and the people in it.”
Caring for the community in different ways
In the 23 years since returning to Marion, that’s what Moodley has done, welcoming thousands of Marion babies into the world. He’s continued to care for them and the community, focused on a personal mission with his wife Janice: To help Marion children and families reap the same benefits a good education gave them.
“My wife and I come from humble beginnings,” he says. “We paid for our own schooling, working full time while going to school. Getting an education changed our lives dramatically.” It’s why they’ve invested time and money to support Marion City Schools, where they chose to send their four daughters.
“It’s a great school system, but with limited resources, so we felt strongly about being part of the change to make it even better,” he says.
“ I made lifelong friends at Harding; Marion felt like my hometown. I felt an obligation to take care of it and the people in it.”Jay Moodley, MD
They started in the classrooms, working directly with teachers to understand their needs. Over the years, the Moodleys have replaced broken microscopes, bought books and globes for the school library and teamed up with friends to purchase math books for an entire grade.
They’ve also tackled bigger projects, succeeding in raising funds while building lasting partnerships. Working with the middle and high school athletic directors, Moodley sought financial support for a much-needed upgrade of Harding High School’s athletic facilities. He helped bring OhioHealth on board, which, with other generous members of the community, donated funds for a new scoreboard, track and turf for the football field.
“OhioHealth is innovative,” says Moodley. “They realize that investing in the community makes a difference. With a little push from me, they’ve created a partnership with the schools that’s worked out well.”
Moodley says OhioHealth has also worked with the school district to design a curriculum that enables students to earn a medical assistant certificate at Marion Technical College.
“Future OhioHealth associates are going to come from local schools,” he says. “OhioHealth’s partnership is an investment in the development of the future of the community.”
Moodley was also part of the team that took on raising $15.5 million for another educational arm in Marion, the new science and engineering building on The Ohio State University – Marion campus that opened in 2017. When the center opened, 300 students were registered in the engineering program.
“They came from all over; that’s good for the program and the community,” he says.
Moodley says his appreciation for what the community did for him, along with his and Janice’s belief in giving back, has driven his devotion to improve education in the community. He admits that it’s gratifying to see a harvest – state test scores are improving, and more kids are staying in school, graduating and continuing their education.
“OhioHealth realizes that investing in the community makes a difference. With a little push from me, they’ve created a partnership with the schools that’s worked out well.”Jay Moodley, MD
“We want to help kids understand that it doesn’t matter where they come from, they have the ability to change their future,” he says. “If you can educate yourself, you can improve your status.”
But Moodley says the biggest impact he sees is in the community’s overall attitude.
“There’s more pride, more people wanting to make a change,” he says. “They realize when you lift up education, you lift up the entire community.”
This story is from the original article from the OhioHealth publication “Your CARE. Your COMMUNITY. Your PHYSICIANS.“