By Travis Sloat
Jason Dansby narrowed his career choices down at an early age. As a kid in Valliant, he decided that he was either going to be a doctor or a lumberjack. As he got older, he broadened those fields a bit, and explored veterinary medicine as well as teaching before he eventually decided on his first love — being a doctor.
Growing up in southeastern Oklahoma on a 300-acre ranch, Dansby is no stranger to cattle, horses and hay. The middle child of three boys, the 6-foot, 3-inch doctor said he is the runt of the family. He said he was riding horses before he could even reach the stirrups.
“I remember that if I ever got on a horse I had to make sure there was a stump nearby so I could boost myself on,” Dansby said. “I did things that I wouldn’t even dream of ever letting my children do.”
When Dansby was 15, his dad was transferred to North Carolina but was transferred back just five years later. Upon completion of his residency in Fort Smith, Ark., Dansby was traveling down the Muskogee Turnpike one afternoon, headed for Claremore, when he made a joke to his wife, Amber.
“I looked at her and asked her if she wanted to move to Muskogee,” Dansby said. “She looked at me and laughed and said, ‘Yeah, right.’ About a week later, we got a phone call asking me to come here to interview for a position at a family practice.”
With the wheels set in motion, Dansby moved to Muskogee.
Meet Jason Dansby
HOMETOWNS: Valliant, Muskogee.
CAREER: Family physician.
EDUCATION: Plymouth High School, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma Medical School, residency at Fort Smith (Ark.) Area Health Education Center.
FAMILY: Wife, Amber; daughters, Alexis, Ella, Caroline; son, Luke.
CHURCH: First Baptist, Muskogee.
HOBBIES: Kids, hunting, fishing, ranching and church.
A decision to
journey into medicine
Jason Dansby decided briefly in college that the road to medicine would be too long.
“I was actually getting my teaching degree,” Dansby said. “My mom and I talked about it, and I told her I’d be almost 30 before I finished my schooling and residency.”
His mother’s reply was simple: He was going to be 30 one day no matter what, and he would either be what he wanted to be, or he wouldn’t.
Armed with that knowledge, Dansby decided to take the Medical College Admission Test. He said he still wasn’t sure what doors God had chosen to open for him, so he approached it from an almost Gideon-like standpoint.
“The night before the test, I just prayed that if God wanted me to be a doctor, he’d have me do well on the test,” Dansby said. “I took the test one time, really in an unprepared manner, and passed with a high enough score to get into OU Medical School the first time I applied.”
He attributes the faith that helped him through medical school to his parents. His father was a deacon, and his mother was a church’s children’s director. He strives to make that faith known in his own family as well as in his practice.
Getting his hands dirty
in the delivery room
Most men are simply present in the delivery room when their significant other gives birth. But for Dansby, that wasn’t going to be enough.
“I knew I wanted to at least get my hands dirty and help deliver them,” he said. “It was never a debate about whether I was going to be in the room, but the delivery option she was more than OK with.”
Their first child was born too rapidly for Dansby to be involved in the helping, but he has successfully delivered their three younger children.
Dansby said that although being able to help is a privilege to him, he doesn’t believe it would have affected his relationship with his kids if he hadn’t been able to take such a crucial part.
“The bond between me and my children would be the same even if I hadn’t been in the same state,” he said. “You love your kids more than the world whether you deliver them or not, but the honor of doing it yourself is still wonderful.”
Band of brothers
just being boys
Dansby said he was fortunate enough to never break a bone growing up in a small Oklahoma town with three brothers, but he doesn’t know how.
“I can remember being 8 years old, and our dad buying us a Honda dirt bike,” he said. “They brought it home, and he had to go to a business dinner. My aunt was babysitting us, and we convinced her that mom and dad would be OK with it if she rode behind us.”
Dansby mounted the dirt bike with his aunt sitting behind him, popped a wheelie – throwing his aunt off the back – and drove straight into a barbed-wire fence. Later that evening he got patched up by his mother and got his “just desserts.”
Dansby said he and his brothers fought a lot growing up, but it was a kind of fighting that only family was allowed to do.
“As mad as I might be at my brothers, if someone outside the family said a negative word about them, I would have turned and popped them in the mouth,” he said. “I could say it, but no one else could.”
As the brothers grew older and moved farther away from each other, their relationships only got stronger. The bonds were cemented during the tragic loss of their parents.
Dansby’s brothers are both in law enforcement, but he said he tries not to hold it over their heads that he’s the doctor.
“It’s a good thing there’s a doctor in my family,” he said. “They don’t abuse it, but they use it.”
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“I finished residency and was contacted by the office manager at Maternal and Family Practice.”
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME?
“Spending time with my family and doing church activities.”
HOW DO YOU MAKE A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“I think expansion and more industry. When my kids are grown, I’m hoping there is a robust economy and an abundance of jobs.”
IS THERE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE THAT YOU ADMIRE?
“My wife, Amber Dansby. Considering all the things she has on her plate, she does an amazing job and keeps me grounded.”
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“Delivering my second daughter with just me and a nurse.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“Muskogee is a town with a lot to offer, but keeps its small-town appeal. It’s a great place to raise a family.”