Member Profile: David Smith, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician and Owner of Sartell Pediatrics


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.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities