OXFORD, NC – Chances are that if you have been a patient in the hospital or have visited someone in Granville Medical Center, you have seen Dr. L. Francine Chavis walking the halls. The tall, quiet and humble woman who you may find at the nurses station or in her patients room. Dr. Chavis has a spirit that reminds me of the stories I heard of the doctors who made house calls. Dr. Chavis is very dedicated to her patients and their families. As a third generation patient, I can attest to that. As a young educator, I became ill. What I thought was going to be an office visit turned into a stay at Granville Hospital. Dr. Chavis was very concerned and compassionate about my care. She was determined to provide the highest quality of care. During my stay, Dr. Chavis was on the hospital floor several times a day checking on her patients as well as seeing patients at her office. Often times, you may find her after hours at the hospital doing her “rounds”. I can remember one night during my stay that I woke up to her sitting quietly in a chair at my bedside.
Although she does not want any accolades, Dr. Chavis is one to be commended. I had a conversation with her a few years ago and told her that I wanted to do something special for her. She stated
“ok, then you can get some rest’. So my idea of doing something soon became something distant. As the years have passed and now in a new profession, I now come in contact with Dr. Chavis monthly and sometimes weekly. As I was in her office one day with one of my residents, I again told her that I wanted to do something special for her and I was not going to take no for an answer this time. I am a firm believer that you give people their flowers while they can smell them. When I shared with her what I wanted to do she smiled. In her quiet, calm, sweet voice she stated “no, no, no. Let’s put our heads together and think of something else”. She finally came around to my idea and accepted. Now at the entrance to one of the halls in Londyn’s Bridge Adult Care Home there hangs a plaque that reads: This hall is named in Honor of Dr. L. Francine Chavis. As you go further down the hall, there is a framed portrait and the following framed bioprapgy:
Dr. Chavis was born in Granville County to the late Major Benjamin Chavis and Mrs. Elisabeth Ridley Chavis. Her first name comes from her maternal grandmother Rhoda Young Ridley wife of Richard Ridley. Her grandmother Rhoda was a matron at the colored Orphanage of North Carolina on Raleigh Street in Oxford. It is now called Central Children’s Home. Her second name comes from her paternal grandmother Frances Elizabeth Satterwhite Chavis, wife of Mark Chavis. Dr. Chavis received her early elementary education at Angier B. Duke Elementary School which was on the campus of the orphanage. Then she attended Mary Potter High School, graduating with honors.
Dr. Chavis has always loved the medical profession from childhood to adulthood. She has stated that the distress of seeing her father ill caused her to want to become a doctor, to be able to help those who are ill return to good health. She studied Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Then she received a scholarship to attend Humboldt Univesity in Berlin, Germany to study medicine. She received the MD degree from Humboldt University and did her internship at D.C. General Hospital in Washington, DC. She returned home to Oxford, and established her own medical practice on Raleigh Street in 1988. Then in 2006 she set up her practice at Granville Health systems where she specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics. Dr. Chavis emphasizes to fellow members to provide quality care, yet also be committed to proactive advocacy efforts.
Dr. Chavis has served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Central Children’s Home, Member of National Medical Association, the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association, Les Gemmes, Inc. and on the Vestry of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church.
It is hard to find an adjective to describe Dr. Chavis’ tireless efforts and the dedication that she has to her patients. Dr. Chavis is a pioneer, visionary, civil rights activist and leader whose contributions to the world are unmatched and unparalleled. She is revered an has a legacy of love and service that is a model for all. Everyone with whom she comes in contact are inspired by her dedication, her grace and her rare sense of resolve and purpose. Dr. Chavis faithfully serves Granville County and surrounding areas, as well as the residents of Londyn’s Bridge. Dr. Chavis will always be remembered for the attributes that she brought to Londyn’s Bridge. This is the same sweet spirit that she exhibits to her family and the broader community. She will be cherished forever!