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Home | Member Profile: Janna Gewirtz-O'Brien, MD, FAAP

Member Profile: Janna Gewirtz-O’Brien, MD, FAAP

May 2, 2017

gewirtz-obrien-janna-15933253What do you like best about being a pediatrician at Mayo?
I went into pediatrics to help children and adolescents of all backgrounds thrive. I love watching my patients grow and develop at every visit. I am incredibly grateful for my wonderful interdisciplinary team at Mayo. There is a true appreciation of the biologic, psychological and social determinants of health. The whole team works together to provide endless support for my patients and their families.

What’s one pediatric issue you are particularly passionate about and why?
I am particularly passionate about mental health and substance abuse among adolescents. Mental illness touches the lives of many of my patients. In 2013, 15 percent of 9th graders in the state of Minnesota reported seriously considering suicide and there is good evidence to support that the number of suicides in the state of Minnesota is on the rise. When I meet a teenager who is struggling with mental illness, I am full of hope that we can help them feel better, return to function and thrive. There is so much that we as pediatricians can do in our offices, in our communities and in our state to promote positive mental health.

You’re a board member of MNAAP. What benefits have you gained from your involvement?
I have met a dynamic group of pediatricians who share my passion for advocacy. The members of the Minnesota AAP leadership team work tirelessly on behalf of Minnesota’s children and families. They have helped engage me in legislative advocacy. Pediatricians’ Day at the Capital is just one of many opportunities to speak to legislators on behalf of children. I have also enjoyed being involved in work groups targeting mental health, poverty and health disparities.

Which other organizations or initiatives are you currently involved with?
I work as a volunteer physician at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center Health Clinic and serve on the board of Rochester Students’ Health Services, the organization that runs this clinic. Seeing students at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center has helped to drive my passion for working with adolescents.

What’s one thing most people are surprised to learn about you?
I am a passionate Rochesterian! Prior to moving to Rochester, Minnesota, I lived in Rochester, New York, where I attended college and medical school at the University of Rochester. I still sport my Rochester Yellowjacket gear around town in Minnesota. It is a constant source of confusion for family and friends. Go Yellowjackets!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
These days, my favorite activities include chasing my 1-year-old daughter around the park and watching her explore the world. My husband and I love finding new adventures for her around Minnesota.

Anything else you want to add?
I would encourage Minnesota pediatricians to take advantage of all that the Minnesota AAP has to offer. Whether it is a webinar on children’s mental health, an opportunity in legislative advocacy or involvement with a grant to combat food insecurity within your practice, the AAP has a lot to offer. We are always looking for ways to better support pediatricians, our patients and their families. The Minnesota AAP is a place for your voice to be heard on behalf of all children.

 

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