Neighbor: Jay Bray gets

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 23, 2000

comfortable with new title


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June 22, 2000 10 PM

Seeing the title M.D. after his name is still a surreal experience for Jay Bray.

It’s almost as if he’s finally caught the elusive dream that has been eight years in the making. And, even though he is now Dr. Bray, he still has four more years ahead of him before he can hang out his shingle.

Bray is a May graduate of the University of Alabama – Birmingham Medical School. He has been admitted to the four-year residency program at the University of South Carolina Hospital in Charleston where he will specialize in anesthesiology.

As a member of the Class of ’92 at Pike Liberal Arts School, Bray had his sights set on a degree in engineering. However, he soon realized that wasn’t the direction he wanted his life to take.

"I’ve always like working with numbers but, when I took calculus at Troy State and saw that no numbers were involved, I knew that wasn’t for me," Bray said, laughing.

He didn’t exactly stumble into medicine but he did follow an unmarked trail.

"Science and math have always fascinated me," he said. "After I realized engineering wasn’t for me, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. As I pursued a major in biology, I just slowly worked my way into medicine."

Although no bolt of lightning emblazoned a desire for

medicine on Bray’s heart, he did begin to feel a strong calling in that direction.

"I decided helping people to get better physically and lead better lives was a good way to spend my life," he said.

After he graduated from Troy State University in 1996, Bray was accepted at the UAB Medical School in Birmingham and he leaned in several directions before deciding on anesthesiology as a speciality.

As he worked his way through hospital rotations, there were several fields he considered – family practice, surgery, pediatrics and anesthesiology.

"At first, I was strongly considering pediatrics but, then I saw there was more to anesthesiology than I

thought," he said. "After the cutting and sewing, everything else is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist and I began to think in that direction."

The more he learned and the more he thought, the more Bray realized he had found his place in the medical field. When he came to the end of his long journey through medical school, there was no doubt in his mind that he had taken the right path to his future.

Bray left for Charleston Wednesday where he will continue his education in a practical way for the next four, maybe five, years.

He said going to Charleston is a big question mark for him.

"When I went to Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, I was already familiar with them and knew some people there, but Charleston is a big mystery," he said. " It’s going to take some time but,after four years, it will probably seem like home to me.

"Four years seems like a long time but when I look back on how fast the past eight years have flown by, it won’t seem that long. If it does go by that fast, I might consider another year and do a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology. That’s the way I’m thinking right now."

Bray said when he is board certified in anesthesiology, he wants to come back closer home to practice his trade. South Carolina is the South but Alabama is home.

Bray is the son of Bobby and Mernette Bray of Brundidge.