Oldham is the Chief of Staff at Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado and a member of the hospital board of directors. He has played a significant role in many improvements to the hospital, including a recent enhanced affiliation with Deaconess Hospital, which provides local patients easier access to specialists and advanced level services. He is also the medical director for the Ferrell Hospital Family Practice Rural Health Clinic, Cardiopulmonary Rehab and Respiratory Medicine.
A graduate of Eldorado High School, Oldham completed his general studies and early pre-medicine courses at SIC from 1999-2001. From there, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from University of Illinois in Urbana in 2003 and his Doctor of Medicine from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield in 2007.
When asked why he chose to attend SIC, Oldham explained that he was not emotionally or educationally ready to transition to a four-year university straight out of high school.
“I knew that I needed time to better develop my learning strategies and study habits if I was going to be successful in the field of medicine,” said Oldham. “I had heard that SIC’s small class size and caring professors would help me transition into a better student at a much more affordable price. Plus, SIC was only 5 miles from my home, and I was able to save more money by living at home for two more years.”
Recalling memories from his days at SIC, Oldham said “The marathon calculus study sessions for Mr. Morgan’s classes with some of my SIC math buddies—this is when I truly started to develop better study habits. Then my first exposure to human anatomy in Dr. Mila Maring-Sim’s anatomy and physiology class—this is where I truly started to fall in love with the field of medicine.
“SIC exceeded my expectations!” he continued. “The professors at SIC unlocked potential in me that I was not sure was there. I will forever be grateful to SIC for truly starting me out on my path to my dream job!”
Oldham said he believes the residents of this area sometimes take for granted the quality of education that is “right in our own backyard.”
“When I transferred to the University of Illinois from SIC, I was ahead of the curve in almost all of my junior level classes,” said Oldham. “I truly believe that was because SIC provided me with a more intimate environment in which learning could really happen, not just regurgitation of information for a test. It also provided a much more economical way to start off my training instead of going into a huge amount of debt for my first two years of college. Southern Illinois is truly blessed to have SIC!”
Oldham’s patients have a number of positive things to say about him as well.
“He is a saint among his peers – truly unique among professionals,” said one of his regular patients, Charles Naas. “He has been a godsend to us both [Naas and his wife]. His attention to detail is astounding.”
Oldham has endeavored to serve his community well and has earned a number of prestigious awards.
Southern Illinois University Medical School named Oldham Mentor of the Year in 2015-16, where he is also a clinical assistant professor. In 2012, he was awarded the Eldorado High School Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is also a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a diplomat of the American Board of Family Medicine.
“Dr. Oldham is a wonderful choice by the alumni committee as a model for which SIC stands,” said SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice. “Nate is a former student and exemplifies the core values to which we prescribe. We are so very proud of him and his wonderful family, and overjoyed that they returned home to be a part of our community.”
Oldham is married to Betsy Morris, and they have five children. He coaches his children’s sports teams and is a very active member of his church. He serves in several leadership capacities including serving as a Deacon, and as the organizer of the Affordable Christmas Program for families in the community. He volunteers as a children’s church teacher and a Vacation Bible School helper. He enjoys gardening and canning, reading, and spending time with his wife and children.