Champions of Health Care 2023: Mitch Dizon — Academic physician

As OB/GYN teacher, Dizon strives to honor his teachers

Photography by Olivia Ross / Mitch Dizon
Photography by Olivia Ross / Mitch Dizon

An old saying holds that "those who can, do — while those who can't, teach."

Mitch Dizon can and does, but he teaches, as well — practicing gynecologic surgery at Erlanger, and also serving as associate director for both the hospital's OB/GYN residency and its Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) fellowship programs.

He is the 2023 Champions of Health Care award recipient in the Physician/Academic category. In nominating Dizon for the Champions laurel, his colleague Kristi Perry calls him "a proven leader in his field."

"His contribution and dedication to educating up-and-coming residents and fellows in the ever-expanding and improving field of gynecology is vitally important in the advancement of his profession and students," writes Perry, a lactation consultant and parent/nurse educator at Erlanger.

"Leading and ushering in the new generation of physicians with patience and professionalism earns (him) the respect and admiration he deserves."

A native of the Philippines, Dizon was raised in Alabama. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2006 and stayed there to win his medical degree four years later.

Dizon then headed for Knoxville, where he completed his obstetrics/gynecology residency at the University of Tennessee in 2014. From there, he was off to the University of North Carolina, where he earned a master's degree in clinical research, his fellowship in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery — and found inspiration in the bargain.

"All of the faculty I had when I was a fellow at UNC were very instrumental in who I am today," he says. "I had a lot of good teachers throughout my training. I wanted to be able to emulate them and give back to the future — teach trainees how to do good surgery."

Doing that, Dizon says, involves more than just lecturing.

"It's also by doing — by operating (together), doing the kinds of surgeries I do," he says. "Certain trainees have different levels, different skill sets. Some, I can predict what their next move will be. It's knowing how much freedom to give someone and knowing when to intervene.

"I love to see improvement, love to see growth," Dizon adds. "That's a big reason I do what I do — it's really nice to see people grow, mature and learn new skills. It's a very rewarding process."

Personal glance

What do you do to relax/beat stress?

I have two little boys, both under three, so I spend a lot of time with them and my wife — going on walks and playing outside with them and our two dogs. And the water is our happy place. We love to be on a lake or at a beach.

What led you to become a medical professional?

I love science, so I thought (medicine) was the best way I could use that love of science to help people. And I love to use my hands, so that's why I chose a surgical sub-specialty.

If you had to choose another profession, what would it be, and why?

I was a pretty good soccer player, so I might have pursued a pro career; and I love cars, so I might have considered Formula 1 racing.


* Honoring Chattanooga’s 2023 Health Care Champions

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Dr. Krish Bhadra — Innovation

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Dr. John S. Adams — Diversity and inclusion

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Diona Brown — Administrative excellence

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Welcome Home — Volunteer organization

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Mark Kapperman — Volunteer

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Tim Davis — Lifetime achievement

* Champions of Health Care 2023: James Zellner — Community physician

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Kristi Perry — Individual community outreach

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Cempa Community Care — Group diversity & inclusion

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Ashley Haynes — Non-physician practitioner

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Paul Farmer — Administrative excellence

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Whitney Evans-Snardon — Rising star

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Erlanger Board of Trustees — Group community outreach

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