How would you describe your journey to becoming the doctor you are today?
I was very fortunate to have leaders who invested in my development. I was asked to begin programs, address issues and lead exciting new endeavors that all supported the mission to improve the health and well-being of children.
Describe the moment or time of life you decided to have a career in medicine.
When I was in high school, my pediatrician asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I responded that I would like to be a pediatrician or a geneticist. He then gave me an opportunity to work for him over the summer. For two summers, I worked in my pediatrician’s office and saw firsthand the incredible impact of long-term relationships among the physicians, nurses, office staff and the families we cared for.
What routines and habits help you prepare for, or recover from, a day’s challenges?
A brilliant friend, who is a judge, told me to always lay out your clothes for the next day before you go to bed. This is advice I have also bestowed on my children, although they have not taken it to heart as I did.
How do you respond to the challenges of being a woman in the health care field?
Early in my career, there were certainly fewer women, but respect comes from knowing your science, caring for and connecting to your patients and being kind to your colleagues. Balancing home and work is a challenge, but I am fortunate to have a supportive network of friends and family who always make sure my children have what they need, even if I am held up at the hospital.
What or who inspires you?
The people I work with inspire me every day. Every piece of health care has an opportunity to be delivered with a spirit of joy and compassion: the nurses who comfort frightened mothers; housekeepers who check to see if there is anything else the family needs; residents who play with children when parents must step away; and physicians who connect with patients about sports or other interests and go into the next room to talk to families about critical diagnoses.
As a child, did you think you’d be where you are today professionally?
As I began college, I thought I would be a general pediatrician in a small town, caring for children and seeing them grow up and then caring for their children. As it turned out, I am still in the Upstate, but it has grown so much, and the scope of what I do is greater than I ever imagined.
What great mentorship have you received? What made it great?
I have had several great mentors over my career, and each contributed to different aspects of my growth. I was fortunate to have trailblazing female pediatricians who were strong and successful role models such as Donna Stroud, M.D., and the late Margaret Wyatt, M.D. William Schmidt, M.D., the first medical director for Children’s Hospital here, taught me to listen to families, connect to the community, look for innovative ways to serve children and to always look for alternative solutions when a door closes on the easy answer.