No Place Like Home
Camp Creek Native Finds Joy in Serving Community
Growing up in Atlanta’s College Park neighborhood, Dr. Pickens Patterson was swept into the whirlwind surrounding the election of Atlanta’s first African American mayor, Maynard Jackson. At the time, Jackson and Patterson’s father, both attorneys, were partners in a legal practice. Knowing Jackson personally and believing in the candidate, Patterson’s parents worked hard to support his historic campaign.
“I saw firsthand the concept of serving and uplifting Atlanta through the election of the city’s first black mayor,” says Patterson. The unique experience served as a stepping stone in Patterson’s upbringing, spawning his desire to serve others.
“My mother and father always stressed the importance of serving your community…and wanting the best for your community,” recalls Patterson. His mother was a teacher and administrator in the Atlanta Public Schools system, and Patterson’s father performed pro bono legal services for those in need and served in civic organizations.
A science aficionado, Patterson knew his path to service would be a bit different. “From elementary school, I was fascinated with science, science projects and experiments,” Patterson says. When the time came to apply to college, Patterson decided the best way for him to combine science with his desire to help people was to become a physician.
A Doctor Is Born
College and his early career took Patterson away from South Atlanta while he completed his undergraduate degree at Hampton University in Virginia and then attended the Medical College of Georgia. He completed his residency at Vanderbilt University, where he was awarded “Best Bedside Manner” in the program.
Double Board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Patterson’s sub-specialty is pain management. He focuses on alleviating pain through intervention procedures combined with medical management of pain.
After practicing in South Carolina and Stockbridge, Georgia, Patterson decided to set up shop in his native Camp Creek. Starting his private practice in 2011, he joined Alliance Pain and Spine Centers in 2012, establishing their Camp Creek office.
Patterson takes pride in offering specialty medical care in South Atlanta, an area he recalls as being underserved when he was a child.
“When I was growing up, you could see your primary doctor in the south side of town. But if you got any kind of referral, you had to go far, up to Piedmont, to get care,” recalls Patterson.
He views Alliance Pain and Spine Centers as his contribution to bringing top-notch services to the area. He aims to “make sure there is no other place you could go in the nation that is going to have higher quality staffing, technology and resources.”
Residing in McDonough, Georgia, with his wife, Cristale, and their two sons, Patterson spends his free time coaching Little League basketball and visiting schools to talk about medical careers. He also makes it a point to stay active, playing golf and lifting weights.
“I’m definitely not a body builder,” laughs Patterson. “But it’s hard to tell patients they need to exercise if you don’t do it yourself.”
Patterson says the best part of his job is helping his patients find joy. Finding an intervention to alleviate pain for those who have been suffering for a long time, he says, is gratifying.
“To see a patient’s enthusiasm for life and joy returning,” Patterson says, smiling, “is a really rewarding feeling.”