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Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP, co-authored a commentary in Minnesota Medicine focusing on the small but significant steps all physicians can take to make a difference in addressing health equity in Minnesota. Read the article here.

MNAAP President-elect Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, offered the Star Tribune insight into Minnesota’s drop in national health rankings, particularly where low childhood vaccination rates are concerned. Read the article here.

Robert Jacobson, MD, FAAP, past MNAAP president, pediatrician, and professor of pediatrics at Mayo Clinic, has been selected as Minnesota’s 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion for his continual efforts to promote HPV vaccination and its power to prevent cancer. For his 13 to 15-year-old patients seen in the last two years, 71.2 percent have completed the HPV vaccine series as compared to only about 19.5 percent of 13 to 15-year-olds statewide completing the recommended HPV series.

Read more about the work Dr. Jacobson has done to improve HPV vaccination rates.

A recent study published in Pediatrics involving the four children’s hospitals in Minnesota looked at the cause of delayed discharge in children with medical complexity. Of 1,582 delayed discharges, 92 percent were directly attributed to lack of availability in home care nursing. The study suggests that increasing the availability of home care nurses or post-acute care facilities could reduce the length of hospital stay and associated costs. Roy Maynard, MD, FAAP with Pediatric Home Service oversaw the study.

Ruth Lynfield, MD, FAAP, Minnesota Department of Health State Epidemiologist and Medical Director, was named co-chair on CDC‘s Acute Flaccid Myelitis Task Force.

Claire Neely, MD, FAAP was named President and CEO of ICSI.

Rachel Tellez, MD, FAAP wrote a letter published in the Washington Post about the role physicians play in reducing gun violence.

Nadia Maccabee-Ryaboy, MD testified in support of T21 at the Eden Prairie City Council. It successfully moved forward to a final vote the following month.

Nate Chomilo, MD, FAAP partnered with Twin Cities Medical Society to write a letter published in the Sun Post regarding Brooklyn Center’s T21 and E-cig sale restriction legislation. Both restrictions were voted in to place the same week.

Following a national search, UCare has hired Julia Joseph DiCaprio, MD, MPH, FAAP to lead the Medical Director team, as well as the Clinical Services, Pharmacy and Quality Management departments.

Lucien Gonzalez, MD, MS, FAAP, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and a Pediatric Addiction Medicine expert, was recognized by the AAP Section on Adolescent Health as the recipient of the Richard B. Heyman Award at the recent AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Marc H. Gorelick, MD, MSCE, FAAP, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Minnesota was presented with the Jim Seidel Distinguished Service Award from the AAP’s Section on Emergency Medicine at the recent AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Angela Mattke, MD, FAAP, with Mayo Clinic wrote an article for AAP News recently that provided tips for pediatricians on connecting with the public via Facebook Live Stream. Check it out»

Rachel Tellez, MD, FAAP, wrote an article about how to teach children about differences that was featured in the April issue of Minnesota Parent. Check it out»

Nate Chomilo, MD, FAAP, was awarded the Gretchen Hunsberger Medical Champion Achievement Award from Reach out and Read. Additionally, he and Judith Eckerle, MD, FAAP, were profiled in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for the Top Docs: Rising Stars edition. Check it out»

Mary Murati, MD, FAAP was recognized with the Bill Richards Young Physician Leadership Award by Park Nicollet Foundation. Since 2009, Dr. Murati has been a Park Nicollet Pediatric Hospitalist, with a keen eye for quality improvement.

Elsa Keeler, MD, MPH, FAAP, was recently named Clinic Medical Director at the HealthPartners White Bear Lake clinic.

Updated 12/4/18

February 1, 2014

JanRourkecolorWhat’s your background? What made you decide to become a pediatrician?

I remember making the decision to go into medicine when I was 11. I spent most of that summer in the ICU waiting room hoping that my father would recover from a cerebellar hemangioblastoma. I realized then the power that a physician has to change not only the life of the patient, but the lives of everyone who loves that patient.

My dad lived another 5 years and I was grateful for the additional time I had with him. I didn’t go to medical school right away; I got married at 19, became a nurse and had two kids. When I found that the desire to pursue medicine wouldn’t go away, I applied to and was accepted into the University of Michigan Medical school. My first year pathology professor promised that we would be able to indulge our passion for disease. I did my residency at U of M as well. I had grown up in Michigan and had a lot of family support there, so it was a great fit. When I graduated from residency my husband and I wrote out a list of our dream requirements for a first job. My attendings were tearing their hair out for fear I was too picky and would never be hired, but the folks at Grand Itasca called and said they had just what I wanted. I was the first resident in my year to land a job. (more…)

November 2, 2013

What is your background and why did you decide to go into pediatrics?

I grew up in Delaware, Ohio (outside of Columbus, Ohio), the son of a family practice doctor and two Peace Corps volunteers. My dad was part of a physician-owned multi-specialty group and I was exposed to the business side of medicine at an early age.

My dad is a great doctor who loved taking care of families and has been a role model for me since I was little. He went back to medical school after having 2 kids (and one on the way) and now that I’m older I appreciate the courage and support it took to make that leap of faith.

I am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. In between undergrad and starting medical school, I did a year of service through the Arch Diocese of Chicago at a drop-in center for the homeless (while living in a community with 12 other volunteers). I attended Wright State School of Medicine and completed my pediatric residency at Nationwide Columbus Children’s Hospital in 2005.

When and why did you decide to open Sartell Pediatrics?

In the fall of 2011 my wife and I discussed the opportunity to open a smaller, more personal clinic within the community. In Ohio, we were used to private practices and felt like Sartell had the demographics to support its own.

It’s been a lot of fun working with my wife on a common goal. I always knew she was bright and talented, but this project has allowed me to appreciate a different side of her which I had never seen before. I think a lot of people wondered whether this type of venture would work, and if we would still be talking to each other after a year. Fortunately, the answer is yes!  It has been a great team effort between the two of us. We’ve never looked back.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a solo practitioner?  

Making sure we are surrounded by the right people and resources. I feel the staff and their interactions are a direct reflection of me and it is important that we hire staff who reflect our values and work ethic.

What are some of the biggest advantages of being a solo practitioner?

Agility. I can respond to patient and market opportunities in a timely, more efficient manner. The successes and issues are mine to sort through…it’s fun.

What do you enjoy most about being a pediatrician? 

I love taking care of kids and seeing the potential with which they possess. I enjoy early intervention — helping children and their families establish healthy habits is the aspect of the practice I enjoy most.

If you weren’t a pediatrician, what would you be and why?

A travel agent. I love to travel, and probably love finding great travel deals more.  I know it sounds crazy, but it’s fun.

What do you enjoy in your spare time?

I have a wonderful wife and two boys ages 8 & 9 who I enjoy coaching in various sports. I enjoy golf, although I will have to live a long time in order to shoot my age.  Since moving to Minnesota I’ve learned to pheasant hunt and fish.  I continue to try and embrace the winter and the activities it provides.

Anything else your fellow MNAAP members might be interested to know about you?

I tell the parents of my patients that my decisions during the day are easy. I treat each patient as if they were my own child and that’s how I decide what we should do next (in terms of treatment/evaluation). I love being a part of the pediatric community, where I know others have the same genuine love of children and common goal of making the world a safer & healthier place to grow.

August 1, 2013

Linda Thompson, MD and John Tobin, MD are retiring this summer after nearly 40 years as pediatricians at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) where they’ve cared for underserved children and taught physicians who care for them. They have trained more physicians and medical professionals in primary care pediatrics than perhaps anyone else in Minnesota through their pediatric continuity clinics, everyday instruction to medical students and residents rotating through HCMC, and continuing education presentations.

What advice would you give to a young pediatrician?

Tobin: The costs are substantial, but the rewards considerable. You may be greeted with unabashed enthusiasm by a child, then criticized for being late or intrusive by the parents of another. Educational costs may be the same as those of colleagues going into more highly paid specialties, but the remuneration will not compare to theirs. You may make a difference in the life of the next Mozart or Einstein!

Thompson: Be prepared for hard work, long hours and a fair amount of worrying; this is the necessary price we pay for a life of fulfillment and enjoyment seeing kids grow and develop. Always listen to parents as carefully and empathetically as you can, bearing in mind that children sometimes hold the truth more so than their parents. Learning how to talk directly to children at a very young age is also important in order to provide optimal care. Read as much as time allows.

What are the biggest changes you have seen occur in your career affecting pediatric care and the health of children?

Tobin: Unquestionably, the continued development newer and more effective vaccines. Also, the Electronic Medical Record. There is now a premium placed on uniformity instead of molding the content of a visit to meet the needs of the child and family. Accompanying this is more and more requirement for measurable tasks with undocumented benefits.

Thompson: New vaccines and the virtual elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases; the disappearance of Reyes syndrome after the link with aspirin was shown; improvements in imaging techniques; advances in neonatal and pediatric intensive care; introduction of surfactant to prevent hyaline membrane disease; the explosion in medical genetics; and the increase in the proportion of women in medicine.

What are the biggest obstacles/challenges you foresee for pediatric care and children’s health in the future?

Tobin: Money. In this country we give lip service to the idea that children are important, but do not act on that principle. Witness the disparity between health care dollars spent on the end of life (much of it futile) and on the first years of life. Whether we speak of immunizations, nutrition, education, or drug development, children in the U.S. get short shrift.

Furthermore, private insurers have little incentive to provide more support, as they almost certainly will not be paying for the consequences of, say, obesity, for an individual child as an obese adult in the decades to come.

Thompson: Children’s mental health services need to improve; incentives for more people to train in child psychiatry and behavioral pediatrics and more collaborative efforts with schools, including preschools and day care centers, might help in this effort.

Racial disparities in health care access also need to be addressed. The quality of social services and the educational system are huge factors in determining children’s health. We as pediatricians need to partner with other professionals and not assume that we can solve all the problems facing children and families on our own.

What are highlights of your pediatric career? Your legacy?

Tobin: Time after time, the highlight of the week is my Continuity Clinic with University of Minnesota Pediatric residents. They have taught me far more than I have them! The fact that these residents and others have told me that they have learned the value of truly listening to what the parents have to say would unquestionably be my legacy.

Thompson: For 20 years I was the primary care doctor for NICU graduates at HCMC, often following them into their teenage years. I attended many funerals during those years and witnessed much sadness as well as some triumphs. During the past 27 years I have also worked with child abuse cases and have seen the development of this field culminating in the approval of child abuse pediatrics as a subspecialty by the ABP in 2009. Educating young pediatricians in Continuity Clinic has also been a great joy and has led to many long-term friendships for which I feel very privileged.

May 25, 2013

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you complete your training?

I joined St. Cloud Women and Children’s Clinic right after residency 18 years ago.  About a year and half later, we joined CentraCare Clinic and I was the 12th member of what has now become a 20-person group of pediatric providers.  I attended high school in Edina, undergrad at the College of St.

Benedict, medical school at Mayo and residency at the University of Utah Medical Center/Primary Children’s Hospital. At CentraCare, I work as a general pediatrician. I have special interests in hematology-oncology and work with two other physicians here to cover our outpatient chemotherapy infusion center in conjunction with Children’s Pediatric Hem-Onc Group.

Are there any special programs or initiatives you’ve been involved with?

Our entire group has been involved with improving asthma care for our patients over the last several years and our rates of optimal asthma care have dramatically increased. We were also one of the first sites in the state to be certified as a health care home and continue to improve on that process. We are now working on initiatives to improve immunization rates and improve access to the electronic medical record for our patients.

What are some of the biggest challenges you (and/or your patients) face on a daily basis?

I think some of my biggest challenges are vaccine hesitancy/refusal among our patients’ families, economic disparity and the increasing costs of health care affecting patients directly (particularly with self-funded HRAs/HSAs and high deductibles,) and keeping up with available technology. I continue to keep open discussions with my patients’ families regarding immunizations and provide as much information as possible to them. I am hopeful that health care reform will continue to improve access to care for children, and in terms of technology, I continue to be involved with our EMR… and my kids help keep me up to date!

What do you enjoy most about being a pediatrician?

I love being in the exam room with my patients and their families. Seeing children grow and develop and the relationships we have built over the years has been amazing. I also enjoy watching a hospitalized child become well again.

 If you weren’t a pediatrician, what would you be and why?

I love all of the weather apps on my phone, the Weather Channel and watching for storms, so I think I’d have to say a meteorologist.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Any hobbies/interests outside of medicine? Family?

I am a hockey mom!  All four of my children play hockey and I love watching them play and my husband coach.  They are also involved in theatre, soccer, softball, tennis, and football and I try to attend as many events as I can.

I also love to read, sew, knit, ski (alpine and Nordic), in-line skate, bike, run, hike, canoe, camp, kayak…..maybe I’m too busy to be a pediatrician!

 Anything else fellow members might be interested to know?

We own property on Turtle Lake just north of Grand Rapids and are in the process of building a log cabin. We have been using trees from the property to do this – my husband cuts them down, we help to peel them, then hand scribe and notch them. So far, it has been about 7 years, and will probably take that many more!

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