UHV alumnus on frontlines against pandemic
When Dr. Cody Walthall was studying to become a doctor, he always knew there was a possibility that there could be a global outbreak of illness. He just didn’t think it would happen so early in his career.
“Working through a pandemic has been an interesting experience, and as a doctor, I do like being in the thick of it all,” Walthall said. “I appreciate being a part of history and something that will be studied in the future.”
Walthall is a physician at Parkside Family Clinic in Cuero and a University of Houston-Victoria alumnus. He is board-certified in family medicine with a subspecialty in obstetrics and has been with the clinic and Cuero Regional Hospital for about a year. He graduated from UHV in spring 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in biology, ready to pursue a career in the medical field.
“With more than 20,000 UHV alumni around the world, it is always exciting to hear about an alumnus who returns to the Crossroads area to make a difference in his local community,” said Kira Mudd, UHV director of alumni relations and annual giving. “We are grateful to Dr. Walthall’s vital contributions to the health care field and hope stories like his inspire other Jaguars with dreams of a medical degree.”
As a Crossroads native who grew up in Inez, Walthall has been fascinated with medical and veterinary science from an early age. Growing up on a farm and ranch, it was important to have a little bit of knowledge in several areas, including how to take care of animals, to keep things running smoothly.
Although Walthall was interested in veterinary science, he became more interested in human anatomy. After he graduated from what was then Memorial High School in Victoria, he decided that he wanted to focus on a career in the medical field.
“In my undergraduate studies, I really honed in on my interest in math and science,” Walthall said. “Even though I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do in the medical field, I knew I wanted to work with people in a medical setting.”
During his undergraduate years at Victoria College and UHV, Walthall worked as a full-time physical therapy technician at Citizens Medical Center while also going to school full time. At UHV, Walthall developed a good foundation of science and statistics to go along with his work ethic, he said.
Because Walthall worked while he was a student, he was able to accumulate more than 1,000 hours of clinical experience before becoming a medical student at Ross University School of Medicine in Barbados, formerly in Dominica.
“Being able to have that work experience before going to medical school was key because I was able to develop a strong work ethic, which helped during my clinical work study in my last two years of medical school,” he said.
After Walthall completed his clinicals in Detroit and his residency at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences West in Fort Smith, he and his wife, Sarah, who also graduated from UHV, and their young children headed back home to the Crossroads area. Sara Walthall has a Bachelor of Business Administration in management from UHV.
As a Cuero physician, Walthall’s experience, education and training in obstetrics, critical care, emergency medicine and working in a rural setting have become tools in his role every day, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In particular, Walthall said his education in statistics and interpreting research articles while he was a student at UHV has become more important as he treats patients with COVID-19. Walthall has read research articles about how to best treat COVID-19 symptoms, and he credits his UHV education with helping him understand how to interpret data so that he can help his patients the best way possible.
Walthall said he is glad he was able to get part of his education in Victoria and come back to the area to give back.
“It feels like a completed circle,” he said. “It feels great to be back home and help the community I grew up in.”
“Stay focused, be tenacious and have patience,” Walthall said.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.