KU's health center chief of staff of 10 years will leave to enter private practice.
Dr. Charles Yockey said Friday that he examined his career and prescribed a dose of professional challenge.
Yockey, chief of staff of Kansas University's Watkins Health Center since 1987, resigned effective Jan. 1 to accept a position as an internal medicine physician at a Humana clinic in Kansas City, Mo.
"I've been here for 10 years and a student here for eight," Yockey said. "It's a professional opportunity that I had to think long and hard about. I need to recharge my internal medicine batteries."
Yockey, who graduated from KU in 1968 and finished a medical degree at KU Medical Center in 1972, was in the U.S. Air Force until 1981. He was in private practice in Wichita before coming to Watkins.
He came to KU in 1986 to move into a work situation that allowed him more time with family. His son recently graduated from high school, freeing him to explore employment options.
James Strobl, director of the health center, said Yockey would be missed. He's been a role model for physicians and a caring health professional, he said.
"Dr. Yockey is a quality person with a great sense of humor," Strobl said. "He has deep personal convictions and has been a dedicated KU alum."
Yockey said he was leaving the campus health center in good hands.
"The staff is incredible," he said. "The physician staff is all board certified. All are young and energetic. The health center is in very good health."
Yockey, 50, said the center's high points in his years as chief of staff:
- Moved Watkins from a hospital to an outpatient center in 1987.
- Earned the center's first national accreditation in 1988.
- Implemented a mandatory student immunization program for measles, mumps and rubella.
- Completed a $5.6 million expansion to Watkins, which includes an ongoing renovation of old clinic space.
- Increased cooperation with KU's School of Medicine. KUMC students work at Watkins two days a week.
Yockey said the Humana job would allow him to delve more in his medical specialty. The clinic's patient list will be more diverse. There's not many cancer, stroke and heart attack patients at Watkins.
In fact, the most common medical problems treated at Watkins are upper-resporatory infections, stomach disorders, dermatological ailments and sexually transmitted diseases.
"This new job is a managed care environment, which offers challenges much different than I have now," Yockey said.