David Barrett has worked in Cardiology as an application analyst for the past 7 years.
David Barrett has worked in Cardiology as an application analyst for the past 7 years.
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Front and Center: David Barrett

Published on Monday, October 9, 2023

By: Rachel Vanderford, rvanderford@umc.edu

Photos By: Jay Ferchaud/ UMMC Communications

In 2007, David Barrett's life took an unexpected detour amid the fluorescent aisles of a bustling Best Buy, where he worked as a member of the Geek Squad. When a dull stomachache turned into excruciating pain, Barrett was compelled to seek medical attention.

A clinic's recommendation led him to the University of Mississippi Medical Center's emergency room, where physicians initially suspected a ruptured appendix.

Yet, as fate would have it, the operating room would reveal a far rarer and bewildering diagnosis ‒ Meckel's diverticulum, a condition more commonly associated with infants and the elderly. At 21, Barrett found himself on a path he never anticipated. His journey from the OR to recovery at UMMC would not only spark an incredible personal transformation but also pave the way for an inspiring career that bridged the worlds of technology and health care, ultimately leading him to become a vital member of the UMMC Division of Information Systems team.

During his week-long recovery, Barrett's curiosity was piqued by the array of medical devices monitoring his vitals. His fascination centered on a remote monitoring system that seamlessly relayed his diagnostics through the hospital's network.

Barrett maintains computer network systems that assist physicians with heart surgery.
Barrett maintains computer network systems that assist physicians with heart surgery.

“The technology was very impressive for the time,” Barrett recalled. “I explained to the attending staff that I had a degree in computer networking and half-joked about being interested in working here once I got healthy.” 

Following his discharge from the hospital and completion of rehabilitation, he embarked on a mission to turn that aspiration into reality. 

Guided by a former classmate, Barrett found his way to a contracting company that recognized his potential, offering him a role within the UMMC DIS Field Support team. With unwavering determination and technical prowess, he quickly established himself as an asset among the hospital’s dedicated and resourceful staff. After just one year on the job, UMMC welcomed Barrett as a full-time member of their IT workforce.

As Barrett honed his skills, he ascended the ranks to become an intermediate level field support technician, extending his service to the adult hospital where he was once a patient. For several years, he learned how to support servers and applications before finding his home in cardiology, where he has been an application analyst for the past seven years. Barrett doesn’t take one second of his journey for granted, though.

“There’s something special about working at a hospital that not only saved my life, but gave me something to do with it,” Barrett said. “I’ve enjoyed every team I’ve been a part of and every department I’ve supported in my 15 years at UMMC. I absolutely love it here in cardiology. I feel like we’re one big family.” He explained that having great coworkers who appreciate and respect one another makes his job rewarding. “But I’ve enjoyed every stop along the way. I still see former clients in the hall and they remain very kind to me,” he said.

He takes pleasure in being a welcoming and familiar face wherever he can. Having family members and friends in and out of UMMC on various visits over the years, Barrett says that one of his favorite things about working in the hospital is the opportunity to visit loved ones easily and offer them a sliver of normalcy while they are away from home.

The love he has for the UMMC community inspired Barrett to continue his education so that he can “better serve the hospital.” He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from the University of Mississippi, electing to minor in history, business and psychology.

“I picked those three because of how they can help me be a better UMMC employee,” Barrett said. “Studying history can teach us a lot about our future. Business helps me understand the big picture of how and why UMMC operates the way they do. And psychology allows me to interact with different faculty, staff, vendors and contractors in a way that helps me understand them.”

Following that, Barrett’s goal is to earn his master's degree in health informatics and information management through the program offered by the School of Health Related Professions.

“David is very committed to working at UMMC to help others in the way that he was helped when he was a patient,” said Barrett’s supervisor Karen Kassner, cardiology application support lead. “He remains positive no matter what’s going on and stays calm during the many crises, downtimes, upgrades and late-night sessions that we face. He is a valuable member of our team, continuing to grow professionally.”

Barrett and fiancé, UMMC pharmacy technician Alexandria Hitt, with their one-year-old son, Wyatt

Barrett and fiancé, UMMC pharmacy technician Alexandria Hitt, with their one-year-old son, Wyatt.

Barrett even recruited his fiancé, Alexandria Hitt, to join the UMMC team four years ago when they were dating. Now she is a senior pharmacy technician at the hospital, and they share a 1-year-old son, Wyatt. "Together we are working towards building the future for our family and community with the help of UMMC and all the opportunities that they provide,” Barrett said.

His compassion for people extends beyond his day job. A few years ago, his brother, who held an official position within their youth community sports teams, informed Barrett of their urgent search for volunteers. Without hesitation, he offered his services where they were needed.

He referees football games and umpires for baseball and softball for kids ages 5-13. Barrett said it’s a rewarding experience, helping the kids and giving back to the community that he’s been a part of for so many years. “They needed the help, and I’m glad I can be there for them,” he said.

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