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Career Profile: Pediatrician

Career Profile: Pediatrician

Lynne M. Haverkos, M.D., Pediatrician, Medical Officer, Child Development and Behavior Branch, Center for Research for Women and Children, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

I chose this career because…

I chose to become a pediatrician because I wanted a challenging career in the medical field dealing with children and their parents. A pediatrician encompasses qualities of a medical detective, a counselor, and a healer. There is an element of intrigue in searching for signs and symptoms of diseases and solving diagnostic dilemmas. This is especially true with infants who can’t verbally assist the physician to identify the location of their problem. Pediatricians do a great deal of parent counseling as they teach them to become advocates for their children. Pediatricians serve as counselors for children in the battle against obesity, youth violence, and unintentional injuries. Pediatricians function as healers when they suture lacerations, dress wounds, and order lifesaving medications.

Education and Certification
• Bachelor of Arts, double major in Biology and Chemistry, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
• Doctor of Medicine, Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, Ohio
• Pediatric internship and residency, Akron Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Akron, Ohio
• Subspecialty training in Ambulatory Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Master of Public Health, Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Board Certified in Pediatrics, Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP)

My typical workday involves…

My typical workday centers around my responsibilities as a program director for the Behavioral Pediatrics and Health Promotion Research program that is part of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The program supports research and research training grants in behavioral and developmental pediatrics, that focus on the role of behavior in health, growth, and development from fetus to young adulthood.

As program director, my major responsibilities are to:

• Oversee progress of funded projects
• Provide technical assistance to grant applicants
• Communicate with federal colleagues and researchers
• Attend conferences to keep abreast of current research and to network with investigators and applicants
• Attend the review of grant applications so that I may assist applicants as they navigate the NIH pathways to federal funding

Work Schedules – Private practice vs. Science administration

My current work schedule has considerable flexibility and reflects the degree of autonomy that I enjoy. I generally work Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In the past, I changed the hours so that I could attend some of my daughter’s high school events.

This schedule is quite a change from private practice when I worked three days a week and two Saturdays a month. The only exception to that schedule was in the summer. My kids swam on the local swim team. I had to be there to cheer for them. In private practice, I didn’t leave until my last patient was seen. On days when our office was open until 8:00 p.m., that occasionally meant getting home after 10:00 p.m. In private practice, appointments were offered six days a week and patients were seen on Sundays as well.

What I like best/least about my work…

What I like best about my work is interacting with research scientists from across the United States and abroad. I am awed by their dedication to science, and quest for knowledge. Reading research publications and learning about the cutting edge advances in behavioral pediatrics contribute to my high level of job satisfaction.

Assisting others has always been a top priority for me. In the past, this meant helping mothers and individual children. Now my attention focuses on adult researchers and although they aren’t as amusing as children, their innovative ideas can be just as entertaining. Knowing that I play a small part in the search for scientific evidence that may inform evidence based practice and policies, satisfies my desire to contribute to the health and welfare of our children and society.

What I like least about my work is recognizing significant and innovative research proposals, but not having adequate funds. It is hard to explain to investigators why we can’t fund their research projects.

My career goals are…

• Prepare presentations on risk behaviors in adolescents based on current research findings. Reviewing the literature frequently will allow me to better recognize gaps in scientific knowledge and permits me to better assist investigators.

• Attend a pediatric board review, in the next several years, to stay current with updates in pediatric practice.

• Take courses on statistical analyses and the design of clinical trials

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