January 3rd, 2020 – 5:20PM
Harbin Clinic Press Release –
Being accident-prone as a child is probably the thing that led Dr. Preston Leonard to become a doctor.
“I broke seven bones when I was young in various accidents, and I thought my orthopedic surgeon was a really cool guy,” Leonard recalls. “Even before I knew I wanted to be a physician, I knew that I really liked what he did.”
In high school Leonard thought he wanted to be an engineer. Both of his brothers became engineers, one a civil engineer and the other an electrical engineer, and he intended to follow a similar path.
“I took an anatomy class my senior year in high school where I learned about the body and how it works and my interest in medicine just took off from there,” he remembers.
Harbin Clinic Pediatrics Cartersville is happy to welcome Dr. Leonard to the team, where he will care completely for children, from birth to young adulthood.
“Dr. Leonard is a great addition to our practice,” says pediatrician Dr. Tammy Williams. “He is bringing valuable experience and expertise that fits in perfectly with our mission of caring completely for the children of Bartow County .”
Stumbling into a passion for pediatrics
“While I thought I would pursue orthopedics after my childhood experiences, of all the things that I did as a medical student, I discovered that pediatrics was what I found most rewarding,” Leonard says. “Working with kids was the thing that felt the least like work because I enjoyed them so much.”
Dr. Leonard found that, for him, kids are really easy to talk to because they tend to be very honest and straightforward, not to mention humorous.
“As adults, we are set in our ways and our bad habits have become pretty ingrained, making changes can be hard,” he points out. “With kids there is a better opportunity to influence them toward developing lifelong habits that can help keep them healthy.”
That knowledge motivates Dr. Leonard to instill healthy and active habits in his patients.
“While we are always here to diagnose ear infections and other ailments, one of the most important things a pediatrician can do is help set kids up for success with healthy lifestyles,” Leonard points out. “Kids lead much more sedentary lives now than we did when I was young. Getting them motivated to go outside can make a big difference in their overall health.”
Dr. Leonard joined the Army to complete his internship and residency in pediatrics. In his time at San Antonio Military Medical Center, he had the opportunity to work with a number of children with different types of cancer and was impressed by their strength.
“A lot of times, people can get discouraged about how a cancer diagnosis might impact their lives, but kids tend to take on their new reality and work with it,” Leonard observes. “It is amazing to watch how tough and resilient they can be in the face of difficulty.”
Dr. Leonard is constantly inspired by his patients and is always quick to assure their parents that the decisions he is making for their kids are the same decisions he would make if they were his own children in the same situation.
There’s no place like home
Dr. Leonard grew up in Rome, graduating out of the Model High School district, and his decision to pursue medicine meant he could do his pre-med studies with an academic scholarship at what is now Shorter University.
“I was able to let my parents spoil me for a little bit longer and then had to learn how to take care of myself when I went off to medical school,” he jokes.
Dr. Leonard is looking forward to bringing his experience in caring for children back to his old stomping grounds in Northwest Georgia. Having lived in Rome for all of his life, he grew up knowing and experiencing the complete care that Harbin Clinic provides in the area.
“When we decided that we wanted to move back to this area and be closer to family, Harbin Clinic was the first call that I made,” Leonard says.
He and and his wife Nicole are settling on a farm in the Kingston area with their two daughters Scarlett, 22-months, and Whitley, 5-months. They enjoy spending time outdoors, including fishing and hunting, and going to sporting events. They are thrilled to get their girls together with the very large extended family they have in this area.
More about Dr. Leonard
Dr. Leonard received his medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Ga. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the San Antonio Uniformed Health Science Center at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas, where he has most recently served as Assistant Chief in the General Pediatrics Center.