When Michael Huey accepted the job of executive director of the
Emory University Health Servicethe student health serviceit
represented a return to familiar ground.
For five years, from 199499, Huey was director of the University
of Florida Student Health Care Center. For three years before that,
he was director of the student health center at California State
University-Bakersfield. It was a career he enjoyed, one in which
he felt comfortable.
With that comfort, however, came a little restlessness. Huey had
been away from regular family practice for 10 years, and a large
part of him yearned to return to it.
So, thats what he did.
Huey resigned as UFs director of student health (but kept
his associate professorship), and he entered a UF faculty family
practice in Gainesville.
Im in my late 40s now, and I was thinking, Will
I ever be able to go back to being a family physician?
Huey said. I was able to do it. I was current enough in my
knowledge and had enough energy. I am a much better doctor now than
I was three years ago.
Huey was happy with is return to family practice. It not only made
him a better doctor, but it also taught him an extremely important
lesson. He learned that his place was elsewhere.
I really missed student health, Huey said. That
was the best fit for me, and sometimes you have to go away from
something to really appreciate it.
Huey began looking for student-health positions and found Emory.
He was hired late last year and began his new position on Jan. 7.
When you take a new job, there are always things that you
gain and things that you lose, Huey said. I think that
if you dont feel significant regrets when you leave a job
to go onto a new opportunity, then you shouldve left a long
time ago. So I have significant regrets about leaving Florida and
will greatly miss that part of my life.
Hueys ties to Gainesville run a little deeper than average.
For seven years, Huey was a team physician for Florida athletics,
the last three for the football and mens basketball programs.
Atop a shelf in his office sits an autographed game helmet the football
team gave him when he moved to Emory.
One of the things thats been really wonderful about
doing sports medicine is that I like sports, so I had the best seat
in the house for some really spectacular games over the years,
Huey said. He got to attend the Final Four with the basketball team
and several bowl games with the football team.
Huey said he already has begun working with Emory athletics as
a team physician.
He does have several concrete ideas about where to take student
health at Emory. Foremost in Hueys mind is his offices
Its a relic of the time when faculty, staff and students
all came to the same place, Huey said of the somewhat generic
University Health Service name. Thats not
who we are, and thats not who I want us to be. I want this
organization to be about student care.
I want the students to perceive this as their health service. I
want them to understand that this health service is designed to
meet their needs and that its responsive to them when their
What Huey has in mind is to rechristen his office the Emory
University Student Health Service. The leaders of the Division
of Campus Life, which the health service falls under, as well as
the University in general, agree with Huey, and the name change,
while not yet official, currently is moving through channels.
The name change is one of three short-term goals, Huey stated.
The others are to encourage more student involvement in planning
and programming at the health service and to work with the physicians
and administrators in the Emory Clinic to improve the referral system
for students to Emory specialists.
Huey began his medical career as a self-described country
doctor in Fall River Mills, Calif., a town of 600 people near
Mount Shasta in north central California. He stayed there for four
years while he paid off his National Health Service scholarship.
Hueys years in Fall River Mills not only kick-started his
medical career, but they also rekindled the fires of his outside-of-work
As a youngster and all the way through high school, Huey acted
constantly in this play or that. When he got to college, though,
he didnt have the time for it, so Huey gave it up. The way
he found it again was quite convenient.
A medical school buddy of Hueys had grown up in Fall River
Mills and had returned to town with Huey to practice. His mother,
a local teacher, owned a playhouse and presented 34 shows
a year. She asked Huey if he wanted to participate.
He couldnt agree fast enough.
When Huey got to Bakersfield, he continued to actthis time
on a slightly different scale. The first role he won was that of
Juan Perón in Evita. Instead of performing in front
of 20 people seated in folding chairs in a church auditorium, Huey
graduated to a 1,200-seat theater with a balcony, a 30-piece orchestra,
body mikes, professional makeup artists, the full deal.
It was such a colossal rush from what I had been doing,
he said. Perón remains Hueys favorite role to this
dayand hes had some sweet ones. Like Baron von Trapp
in The Sound of Music, Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair
Lady, Daddy Warbucks in Annie and Col. Nathan Jessup
in A Few Good Men, to name just a few. Huey said hes
done about 30 shows over the last 15 years.
Hueys most recent performance was also one of his most unique.
He and his wife Fontaine were King William and Queen Caroline, rulers
of the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, earlier this month in Alachua
County, Fla., their former home.
Theyve done it for the last five years. The Hueys spent the
six-day fair in royal regalia, leading a procession to a jousting
match, knighting children and basically acting monarchical.
Its great fun, and they pay us, which is unusual,
Huey laughed. Its all improv. Youre the king and
you play the role. And lets face itits good to
be the king.