Member of the Month: James Mobley, MD, MPH

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Member of the Month: James Mobley, MD, MPH

Retired Army doc contributes to public health of Texas

posted 12.8.15

After receiving his ROTC commission from Texas A&M, James Mobley, MD, MPH, was awarded his medical degree by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He then completed a family medicine residency with the Army at Fort Ord, California. After 38 years of service in the Army, Mobley retired from active duty in 1981 with the rank of brigadier general.

Since then, he has been in private practice in Portland, a small coastal town across the bay from Corpus Christi, and also teaches epidemiology at Sam Houston State University. Mobley has been the health authority for San Patricio County since 1990 and received the TAFP Public Health Award in 2010. He also received his Master of Public Health from the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health in 2013.

Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it? Were you inspired by anyone?
My family doctor in Tulsa always smoked a big cigar that smelled wonderful (I don’t smoke). I particularly love taking care of generations of families. I once cared for five generations of one family. From a newborn I delivered to a great-great-grandmother at age 102. I make and enjoy house calls.

How would you define the mission of your practice?
People want to be cared for, not cured.

It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP because:
AAFP and TAFP are my way of connecting to the wider world of medicine. They speak for me in legislative halls. The Hard Hats for Little Heads puts our beliefs into practice. The CME is excellent and I always come back with specific things I can use in my practice.

What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
I was flying on a commuter airline from Dallas to Corpus Christi late on a Sunday after an Army Reserve Drill. About 20 minutes into the 70-minute flight the announcement comes on the overhead. “If there is a doctor on board, please press your call button.”

It was a 73-year-old lady from Beeville, Texas with chest pain. She had sweating with chest, left arm, and neck pain. The flight attendant brought me the airline emergency medical kit consisting of a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. Her blood pressure was 190/120, pulse 130. The pain was +8/10. The pilot said that we had about 15 minutes before we could make an emergency landing in Waco where everyone would have to spend the rest of the night.

With no medication, I began talking with the lady. She told me about her family and how she had been visiting her grandchildren. We discussed Beeville, children, her grandchildren, and everything but her chest pain. When I next checked, her blood pressure was 160/100, pulse 100. The pain was 6/10.

We decided to continue on to Corpus Christi. We talked and laughed and visited. When I turned her over to the ambulance crew at Corpus Christi International, her blood pressure was 140/90, pulse 74, pain 0/10.

That night I learned the incredible healing power that we all have inside us and got 500 frequent flyer miles in addition.

How do you make a difference in family medicine and in your community?
I serve on TAFP’s Commission on Public Health. Also, I provide TAFP services and special events in my community including shot events and Hard Hats. As chair of the Regional Health Awareness Board I monitor local environmental conditions and provide press releases and education for local elected officials and the public. Our Medical Explorer program has provided educational experiences for over 1,000 high school students in San Patricio County.

How can we attract more medical students to family medicine?
We need medical students to work in high-performing family medicine clinics and we need to change the culture of teaching hospitals to value primary care so that medical students understand the incredible richness of family medicine.

If you weren’t a doctor what would you be doing with your career?
I would be a band director or history teacher.

What are your hobbies?
I play in the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi and the Brazosport Symphony, woodworking, building with Legos, singing in my church, and needlepoint.

TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.