Walker Retires After 32 Years
Brigitta Walker, a speech-language pathologist with the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, has retired after 32 years with North Mississippi Medical Center.
Brigitta is leaving to become a full-time instructor and administrator with Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions located in Provo, Utah. She will remain in Tupelo and work remotely for the university, which offers an online/limited-residency doctoral program in speech-language pathology.
“I’m immensely grateful for this new opportunity, as well as for the opportunity to work here all these years. It’s been a great experience,” Brigitta says. “I love learning, and this new role will allow me the opportunity to continue doing so.”
Yet, leaving NMMC is bittersweet. “This is so much more than a job,” Brigitta says. “It’s a ministry. I’m called upon to help people, and this is how God allows me to do that with the gifts he gave me.”
Brigitta has especially cherished treating people with swallowing issues, and she’s thankful for the training and support NMMC offered her.
“Everyone takes swallowing for granted, until you can’t swallow,” she says. “I appreciated being able to touch the lives of people who’ve had an event—traumatic brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease—that affected their swallowing. There’s nothing like being able to sit around the table and eat with your family. One of my greatest joys was helping people learn to swallow again and being able to enjoy a meal with family.”
She also provided oncology rehabilitation for patients with head and neck cancer. “Helping them swallow again is life-changing,” she says.
Brigitta is a 1982 graduate of Houston High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Mississippi in 1986 and her master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1988.
Brigitta joined the NMMC staff in 1991 and worked with the Rehabilitation Institute and Acute Rehabilitation before transferring to Outpatient Rehabilitation in 1998. Over the years, she has been actively involved with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and presented at state and national conferences.
Brigitta’s new role will also allow her to encourage minority students to consider a career in speech pathology. “Nationally, only 8% of speech-language pathologists are people of color,” Brigitta says. “The people we treat are extremely diverse, but the people who treat them are not as diverse.” Her ultimate goal is one day to launch a speech-language program at a college that does not have one.
Brigitta has three daughters – Camille McCallum of Dallas, Kendall Walker of Tupelo and Chloe Walker, who attends the University of Mississippi. She serves as pianist at New Temple M.B. Church in Dorsey. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, biking and exercising at the Wellness Center.