In Bertie County, in a small southern town in eastern North Carolina called Powellsville, there is a community leader quietly going about his day meeting the medical needs of a community he never knew until his passion for service outweighed the convenience of living in the city.
A story about Dr. Steven Ferguson is not complete without a little history. For the past 22 years, Dr. Ferguson, with his wife Patricia, alongside him, has worked long hours to meet the medical needs of his eastern North Carolina community. He is well known as a community leader, tireless professional and contributor to the youth in the county. But long before he relocated his family to Bertie County, he discovered the power of love and connection with family, especially with his grandmother.
For some people three’s the charm, for Dr. Steven Ferguson it’s the number five. He was the youngest child in his family of five boys. He decided at age five to be a doctor; through five schools of learning his resolve never wavered. According to family lore after four male children his parents were hoping for a girl. When Steven was born his mom said to his grandmother with a smile, “You can have him”. With two loving parents and four older brothers, Steven found a special place at his grandparents’ home where he could be an only child for a while. “Grandma,” said Steven, “gave me God; Grandpa gave me the world. It was a well-rounded education in their home.” He enjoyed their company – perhaps that honest enjoyment is a predictor of the geriatric care that would become a large part of his life.
The lessons learned in his grandparents’ home were many. Both his mother and his grandmother were teachers. He learned the value of service to the people, old and young, that make up your community. He learned the value of persistence and his grandmother’s phrase that would become his motto for life: “Reach for the moon and even if you miss you’ll fall among the stars.”
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Ferguson completed elementary school, junior high and high school with his sights set firmly on medicine. He attended Lincoln University, which is a bit of American history itself, is the United States’ first degree-granting historically black university. Founded as a private university in 1854, it has been a public institution since 1972. Young Steven heard about Lincoln from his uncle, an orthodontist who encouraged Steven’s dreams and is an alum of Lincoln himself. His fifth school was Case Western back in Ohio where he completed his medical training and where he and his wife Patricia had two sons, Daniel and Joshua.
Nowadays, Dr. Ferguson rises early in the morning to take care of his patients in his nursing home facility, mindful of giving them the time they need. He heads over to his Family Care Center to his practice caring for the health needs of all ages.
For more than two decades, he has been the most utilized provider of health screenings for local athletes in the Tri-County catchment areas of Bertie, Hertford and Chowan. As a community service, Dr. Ferguson provides the required physical exams for students participating in school sports. He estimates he gives away 400 or more physicals every year. “It’s a chance to give back to the community,” he said, “and an opportunity to talk to kids. You never know what word you might say will inspire them and keep them on the right track.”
Ferguson’s Eastern Carolina Geriatric Associates and Family Care Center is a beautiful, twelve-thousand square-foot medical complex built by him and his wife, that provides quality medical and preventive health care to patients. It wasn’t there in 1992 when the Fergusons moved to the county. Dr. Ferguson was asked to serve as the Medical Director for a nursing home in December of 1993. He agreed to help out for one month; he never left. The vision for the Center grew from his dedication to the nursing home where almost immediately he realized that the patients needed an advocate as much as they needed medical attention. His pathway to the future was assured.
Because medical advances have greatly increased the quality of life for senior citizens, they are living longer and staying stronger. Dr. Ferguson is committed to teaching about aging and especially about Alzheimer’s disease. He has recorded over 40 videos starring himself as “Mr. Dementia” to raise awareness with a little humor, for families about the issues and solutions of aging. Mr. Dementia comes to life on his YouTube channel www. youtube.com/user/askdrferguson.
Dr. Ferguson opened the Katheryn Elizabeth Chavers Adult Day Health Center, named after and in tribute to his late grandmother, to meet the daytime needs of elderly people in the community. You can tune in on Facebook to his weekly preventive health care programs Mondays 1:00 PM- 1:30 PM “Askdrferguson Live” as well as check out his love for photography at www.photomedoc.com. This dutiful doctor has demonstrated a love for medicine and especially for those he has been called to serve. He is highly esteemed and regarded as a man who has gained recognition and honors yet it is with a servant’s heart that began at age 5, that he dreamed and built a rural, patient-focused comprehensive health care practice.