Medicine and Monroe are ingrained in Dr. Bart Liles.
Liles, a fourth-generation physician in Monroe, first moved to the area at four years old when his father, Dr. Arthur Liles, opened his urology practice. His grandfather, Dr. Burchall Liles, also practiced urology, and his great grandfather, Dr. N.P. Liles, was a general physician.
"I used to accompany my dad and granddad to their offices. It always meant a lot to be around them and to see what they did."
He completed his medical training at Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport, where he also served as Chief Resident. He knew Monroe was the place to raise his family.
Now a board-certified general surgeon, he and his wife Leigh, a child psychiatrist, have three children. He enjoys spending time at his family's hunting camp and reading. His favorite book is Ferrol Sams' "Run with the Horsemen," a story about a boy growing up in the South.
"People here are friendly and gracious. Everything I love is here—family, friends, and places. I wanted to raise my children near my family in a true community environment. The sun shone brighter the day I moved home," he said.
After completing a laparoscopic, robotic, and bariatric externship at Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, he moved to Monroe. He then joined Dr. Walter Sartor in practice at Louisiana Center for Weight Loss Surgery, the bariatric program at P&S Surgical Hospital, where Liles was later named chief of staff.
Liles, who is also highly skilled in performing vein procedures, was named a Surgeon of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation, which recognizes the world’s top surgeons. Liles is also a fellow in the American College of Surgeons.
While his family encouraged him to work in medicine, Liles ultimately decided on his own. He views his profession as his contribution to society.
"It is your duty to create something good and lasting in this world; it is the only way you will be remembered," he said. "Truthfully, there's nothing more rewarding than comforting families and patients during times of need. When the chips are down, and they look to you for answers, it’s an amazing amount of responsibility."
His mother, Melanie Liles, shares her son's love for making others laugh. She worked in child protection services; her work ethic and capacity for empathy profoundly impacted him.
"She’d enter a situation in which someone was having their worst day, and she'd let them know they were not alone. She used to say that suffering wasn't unique to anybody, even though some have it worse," Liles said. "They are human, and they entered this world just as you did and will leave just as you will. It’s in the in-between that you have to alleviate the suffering somehow. She taught me the importance of that."
That philosophy of caring has shaped his medical career. He has additional advice for young people wanting to study medicine.
"Don't just spend time in the books. Talk to people, develop interpersonal relationships with your patients because that’s the bulk of what you will do," Liles said. "Develop confidence. Learn to adapt and think for yourself because you won't always have a mentor," he said.
Liles worked at St. Francis Medical Center while a senior at St. Frederick Catholic High School and later while a freshman history major at Millsaps College in Jackson. One of his mentors was Dr. Walter Sartor, now his colleague and his friend.
"Walter has been a mentor to me for 22 years, which is over half my life. He is a wonderful resource to bounce things off of and is so technically gifted. He's also a good friend; he is always smiling," Liles said.
Liles, Dr. Walter Sartor, and Dr. Patrick Smith opened the Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana in December of 2018. Liles calls the group of surgeons a "brotherhood."
"Patrick is the ultimate go-getter; he has so many irons in the fire surgically, and he is so good at it. He’s a phenomenal surgeon," Liles said. "And we are always there for each other. If one of us needs assistance surgically, the others run to help. I love this group. It feels like we have been friends since we were little kids."