Roger A. Friedman, MD ’77
Chairman, Medical Alumni Program
Members of the Nationwide Children’s Medical Alumni Program represent America’s leading pediatricians and subspecialists. Membership is free to all residents and fellows who have trained at Nationwide Children's Hospital for six months or more, or who are currently conducting training.
All members receive the following benefits:
- Connect quarterly electronic newsletter
- Information and invitations to upcoming events
- Chairman updates
- Networking opportunities
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2020 Medical Alumni Reunion - Cancelled
Because our top priority is the health and safety of our patients, families, other visitors and staff, the Medical Alumni Reunion events scheduled to take place April 24 - 25, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio have been cancelled. When a new date is determined, it will be posted on this page.
Alumni Feature Archive
Alumni Feature: Rebecca Wallihan, MD
(Published December 2019)
When Rebecca Wallihan, MD, arrived at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2005, her goal was not just to complete, but to succeed, in the residency training program here. As planned, she completed the program in 2008. And she has continued to succeed at Nationwide Children’s ever since.
“I never thought I’d be here for this long, but the people are amazing and are truly like a work family. And no matter what your interests, there are expertise, mentorship and professional development opportunities to help you gain additional experience to carve out your niche,” says Dr. Wallihan.
Dr. Wallihan has many great memories from her training days. They are a blend of patient care stories and also of spending time with colleagues, quite a few who she remains friends with today. One person who stands out is John Mahan, MD, the former residency program director who now serves as the director of Faculty Development and the director of the Center for Medical Education Research at Nationwide Children’s.
“Dr. Mahan has been one of my primary mentors for over a decade. I remember when, during my chief year, I mentioned that I thought I wanted to be a residency program director one day. Dr. Mahan shared words of encouragement that helped to reaffirm my goal. Three years later, when there was an opening for the associate director position, Dr. Mahan remembered me. He is a big part of why I am in the position I now hold and I cannot thank him enough,” says Dr. Wallihan.
The role Dr. Wallihan is talking about is the director of the pediatric residency program. Following her residency training, Dr. Wallihan stayed on for an extra year as chief resident, then completed a fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. She joined the faculty at Nationwide Children’s in 2012 and now, in addition to serving as the director of the pediatric residency program, she is also a clinical associate professor and vice chair of Education.
“I love my job!” says Dr. Wallihan. “Each day is different and may include seeing patients, teaching, doing research or attending meetings. I love the variety and the opportunities to impact the lives of our patients and the future of pediatrics.”
When asked what she would say if the today Dr. Wallihan could talk to the resident Dr. Wallihan, she responded “Say yes! This may be controversial because many advise trainees to say ‘no’ more often, but I really think early in your career you should be saying ‘yes.’ As a trainee, or junior faculty member, you just never know what doors will open by accepting new opportunities.”
Alumni Feature: John D. Spencer, MD
(Published September 2019)
Following his graduation from Indiana University School of Medicine, John D. Spencer, MD completed his residency training at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. When exploring fellowship programs, Dr. Spencer looked for one that provided trainees with the opportunity to perform bench science. He chose the Nephrology fellowship program at Nationwide Children’s because of its established track record of outstanding scientists who have successfully mentored clinical fellows.
When asked to share a fun memory of his fellowship experience, Dr. Spencer shares that he became an immediate, and permanent, Buckeye fan, when during his first Saturday on call, then division chief, Dr. Mentser, took him to the Ohio State vs. Navy football game. Dr. Spencer adds that training under a large faculty group at Nationwide Children’s provided him with unique perspectives on patient care as well as a nice list of lessons that have stayed with him since his training:
- Never hesitate to ask for help.
- Aminoaciduria is always in the differential diagnosis.
- Robots will never replace doctors.
- Nothing replaces a good patient history.
- Always save time to mow your lawn.
Following fellowship training at Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Spencer joined the faculty as a clinician in the Nephrology Division and a principal investigator in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. While he has continued in these roles since graduation, the roles have evolved. Last year, he became the Division Chief of Nephrology. Also, his lab has tripled in size while his team has continued to investigate the innate host defenses of the kidney and bladder. Dr. Spencer has continued to collaborate with his fellowship mentors and shares that these are “highly valuable relationships that should stand the test of time.”
Speaking of time, when asked what he would say if the “today” version of Dr. Spencer could talk to the “fellow” version of himself, he responded that he would advise his earlier self to “Learn how to type more efficiently,” and “Don’t get a smart phone.”
To learn more about Nephrology at Nationwide Children’s, or about Dr. Spencer, visit: https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/nephrology
Alumni Feature: Elizabeth D. Allen, MD
(Published June 2019)
In the mid 1980’s, when Elizabeth Allen, MD first came to what was then called Columbus Children’s Hospital, she was an Ohio State University medical student undergoing her rotations. She knew then that she wanted to stay. “I loved my rotations here. Plus my husband had already started his internal medicine residency at The Ohio State University and I really wanted to stay in Columbus,” says Dr. Allen. And so she stayed to complete her residency and fellowship training.
Dr. Allen shares that during her training at Nationwide Children’s, she had a steady stream of great clinician mentors. Her hope is that she has been able to emulate their thoughtful approach to patient care and their willingness to take time out to teach those around them. She is grateful for the time she was able to spend with Dr. Grant Morrow during her year as a chief resident and how the experience opened her eyes to the importance and impact of physician leaders.
When asked to describe one of her most memorable experiences during her training, Dr. Allen responded, “Flying in a medical helicopter with Dr. McCoy and a cystic fibrosis patient who was having intermittent bouts of large volume hemoptysis. We were bound for Cleveland and the cutting-edge procedure of bronchial artery embolization. The patient did well – and it was so cool to see the at-dusk Columbus skyline from the chopper on the return flight!” And Dr. Allen’s career has been taking flight ever since.
After completing her residency and chief residency training, Dr. Allen remained at Nationwide Children's Hospital as the first-ever pulmonary fellow. She shares that she nearly took on the additional load of a critical care fellowship, but instead she joined the hospital’s Pulmonary Division. Her days became increasingly busy as her professional life took a “decidedly outpatient-heavy turn” while, at the same time, in her personal life, she was raising four children. Following a stint as the Associate Director, Dr. Allen became the Pulmonary Fellowship Director in 2007. “It was an honor and source of pride to help the program grow and graduate an outstanding group of newly-minted Pediatric Pulmonologists over the next 11+ years,” she shares.
In 2011, Dr. Allen was invited to help lead Nationwide Children’s Asthma QI program. “In the process, I was bitten by the QI bug – such a logical approach to ensuring we practice the very best known clinical care while the visionaries figure out what’s next,” says Dr. Allen. Recently, she took on the role of medical director for quality at the hospital. “A very exciting opportunity which will allow me to work with, and learn from, some of the best QI folks in the nation,” she adds.
As to the mentors and residency and fellowship peers from her training days, Dr. Allen shares that “Nationwide Children’s has an interesting habit of keeping its grads here – a ‘symptom’ of its rapid growth and also the fact that so many like it here. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate, particularly on clinical and educational efforts, with quite a few of my training peers. It’s always a pleasant surprise when the PTCT call turns out to be from a doctor you took call with back in the day!”
Speaking of “back in the day,” if the Dr. Allen of today could talk to the Dr. Allen back then, she would say, “It’s good to make plans – but know that life will disrupt them, new opportunities will emerge, and in the end, it will be a great ride. Don’t be afraid to try new things and keep learning. There are many interesting paths to take during a medical career!”
Alumni Feature: Katalin Koranyi, MD
(Published March 2019)
Katalin Koranyi, MD began her residency training in Cleveland in 1970. Two years later, she found herself married, moving to Columbus to join her new husband, and transferring her training to Columbus Children’s Hospital, now known as Nationwide Children's Hospital. For some residents, a transfer that far into residency training can be difficult, but Koranyi shares that she quickly felt at home. In fact, Koranyi never left her “home” at Nationwide Children's until she retired in 2017.
Koranyi enjoyed several of her rotations at Nationwide Children's, but the one she truly “fell in love with” was Infectious Diseases. So, following her residency training, she stayed on to pursue a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship under the directorship of Dr. Ralph Haynes. One of Koranyi’s most memorable experiences during her fellowship training was watching over patients with Reye Syndrome, a hepatic encephalopathy condition. While rarely seen today, in the early 1970’s the illness had a high mortality rate. Koranyi shares that there were only two fellows at the time, so she and Dr. Dennis Burech took 12-hour shifts at the bedsides of children and teens afflicted with the deadly illness.
When asked about the mentors who had a positive impact on her training and career, Koranyi lists several: Dr. Ralph Haynes, Dr. Parvin Azimi and Dr. Milo Hilty. She shares that the trio inspired her through their dedication and love for children, humanism, skilled teaching and intellectual prowess. She became dedicated to following their examples to serve her patients; teach medical students, residents and fellows; and to never lose her intellectual curiosity.
After completing her infectious diseases fellowship, Koranyi remained at Nationwide Children's as the director of the Pediatric Clinic, now known as the Primary Care Clinics. She enjoyed the opportunities it gave her to follow patients for several years while also teaching medical students and residents. During the 15 years Koranyi was the director of the Primary Care Clinics, she also served as an infectious diseases attending physician 1-3 months a year until Dr. Dwight Powell invited her to officially join the Section of Infectious Diseases. Koranyi shares that this was during the era of HIV/AIDS and when Dr. Mike Brady had been the sole physician caring for these patients. She remained a member of the HIV program, known as the FACES Clinic, until her retirement.
As a member of the Section of Infectious Diseases, Koranyi served as an attending physician on the inpatient ward as well as for the Infectious Diseases Clinic and Consult Service. When Dr. Powell established the International Adoption Clinic, she joined as the co-director and served in this capacity for five years. Koranyi also became the medical director of the inpatient infectious diseases ward and of the infectious diseases clinic.
During her tenure at Nationwide Children’s, Koranyi’s collaborations with medical students, infectious diseases fellows, faculty physicians and pharmacists resulted in 50 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She also received an array of awards from Nationwide Children's, The Ohio State University and from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She ended her 44-year career at Nationwide Children's in 2017 to become a fulltime babysitter to her grandchildren.
When asked what the “today” Dr. Koranyi would say to the “resident/fellow” Dr. Koranyi, she responded, “Even when you are tired and sleepy or frustrated by perceived non-essential duties, remember the reasons why you chose medicine as your profession. You did it because of your love for people, desire to help others and your thirst for medical discovery. Medicine is a unique profession. You can truly make a difference in people’s lives – make them better! It is not an easy life, but it is a privilege to care for others, particularly for children. There are few other professions where you get to go down on your knees at a child’s eye level and make funny faces. Medicine is a difficult path, but the rewards are immense.”
Alumni Feature: In Honor of Dr. Grant Morrow, III
(Published December 2018)
If you have read the previous alumnus highlights in our Medical Alumni Program newsletter, you have seen descriptions of how different training was in the 1970s compared to today. What you haven’t read about is how the transition took place and who spearheaded the progress. That story commenced in 1978 when Grant Morrow, II, MD, joined what was then Columbus Children’s Hospital and began paving the way for the future of not only medical training, but also research and clinical care at what is now Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
After Dr. Morrow earned his medical degree in 1959 from the University of Pennsylvania, he completed an internship at the University of Colorado, Denver General Hospital; a pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania; and a neonatal fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Morrow then served on the Department of Pediatrics faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine until 1972 when he accepted a position at the Arizona School of Medicine. It was from there that he was recruited by what is known today as Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Morrow joined (Nationwide) Children’s Hospital in 1978 as the medical director of the hospital, the head of the Department of Pediatrics, the medical director of the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, and the chair of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University. In the years to come, he would also take on the role of vice president of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. He also was honored to accept the prestigious position of president of the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Morrow is boarded in pediatrics, neonatology, and genetics and metabolic disorders.
When Dr. Morrow joined Children’s Hospital in 1978, the resident class was recruiting to match 22 residents, but only matched seven. The department also had vacancies from the previous resident recruitment year as well as faculty vacancies, leaving the relatively small staff extremely busy.
“We had to work very hard to make up for the vacant resident positions, but it was a great learning experience and the camaraderie formed then has lasted since. As long as we had support, we could do it. And we had that support from Dr. Morrow. I have a lifetime appreciation for him. Dr. Morrow is a great thinker and a great personal friend,” shares Dr. Roger Friedman, class of ’77 and chairman of the Medical Alumni Program.
Recognizing the critical and vital role community pediatricians were playing in the training of residents, Dr. Morrow immediately set forth to solidify the relationship between them and the hospital. He promised to enhance their practices by providing more subspecialty expertise. And that promise remains strong today.
The residency program has grown tremendously since the 70’s and Dr. Morrow attributes much of the success to Dr. Mary McIlroy, who revamped the program, and to Dr. Toni (Antoinette) Eaton who enhanced the clinics to become more educationally friendly and attractive for residents. Beyond recruiting residents, Dr. Morrow played a critical role in recruiting faculty. From 1978 to 2015 faculty grew from 19 to 462. It is important to note that, while Dr. Morrow had stepped down from his position as chair in 1995, he remained involved in recruitment endeavors.
In addition to teaching and clinical care, Dr. Morrow recognized the need for enhanced pediatric research. Along with others, he approached the Wexner family who became the primary donor for the hospital’s first research building which opened in 1988. When Dr. Morrow began his tenure as medical director of the Research Foundation, the staff of researchers numbered 20 conducting $200,000 in grant-funded investigation. Today, there are 160 basic science, clinical and behavioral health scientists at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the awards have escalated to $81.7 million. It is one of the largest pediatric research centers in the United States and is ranked in the top 10 for National Institutes of Health funding among freestanding children’s hospitals.
During Dr. Morrow’s retirement event in 2015, Dr. Steve Allen, chief executive office of Nationwide Children's Hospital commented that the hospital had grown from a gem of the local community into a premier international pediatric healthcare destination and that evolution can only be possible when an institution is anchored by dedicated, committed leaders. Leaders like Grant Morrow, III, MD.
There is so much more to say about Dr. Morrow and the impact he has had on research, medical education, and patient care. This brief article barely scratches the surface. He made a difference in the lives of countless medical and research professionals as well as patients and families. Perhaps Dr. Bruce Meyer, Nationwide Children’s administrative medical director who was recruited by Dr. Morrow to perform many clinical administrative roles says it best when he shares, “Dr. Morrow enhanced my life. Everything that I have done in my career at Nationwide Children's Hospital I attribute to him.”
Alumni Feature: William J. Barson, MD
(Published October 2018)
Back in the 70’s, Dr. Barson decided to complete his residency and fellowship training at what was then called Columbus Children’s Hospital because he knew he would receive great training and because he wanted to stay in Columbus. Training back then was quite different.
Dr. Barson shares, “We had no ED physicians, neonatologists, intensivists, or in fact many of the subspecialists that we are now so fortunate to have. You might think, how did things get done? Well, it was through the hard work of the residents, nurses, our handful of pediatric specialists, and the community physicians who graciously volunteered their time to attend on the wards.”
Drs. Milo Hilty and Dwight Powell, were Dr. Barson’s mentors during his infectious diseases fellowship training, and he describes them as “…awesome examples of professionalism and caring who taught me how to be a good clinician and teacher.”
As to what was most memorable about training at what is now Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Barson reflects on when, as a resident, he flew in the Ohio National Guard helicopter on patient transport missions and was responsible for the respirator settings while at the OSU NICU.
“As an intern, while in the OSU NICU under Dr. Rick McClead’s insight and ingenuity, we pieced together the first CPAP device to be used on a neonate in Columbus. I will always remember and remain indebted to the many fine mentors who trained me and the wonderful fellow residents, nurses, and ancillary health care providers with whom I worked side by side.”
But Dr. Barson’s most memorable and enduring experience was “…meeting my future wife, Darlene Terpenning, who was a neonatal surgical nurse here, when I rotated through her unit as an intern.”
After completion of his infectious diseases fellowship, Dr. Barson joined Columbus Children’s Hospital as an assistant professor dividing his time between the Ambulatory Pediatric Clinic at OSU and Infectious Diseases at Columbus Children’s. After a couple years, Dr. Barson became devoted full time to Infectious Diseases and in time became the Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship. Dr. Barson says that because he pursued his career at the hospital where he trained, it has been wonderful to work with his former mentors and then, over the years, with the residents that he helped train.
When asked what the “today you” would say to the “resident/fellow you” Dr. Barson responded that there are three things to remember:
- Always treat the patient not their labs
- Always ask the question “why”
- Be more flexible and become more adaptable to change
Alumni Feature: Michael Brady, MD
(Published July 2018)
While still in medical school, Michael T. Brady, MD, knew he wanted to work with children. And it was because of two important people in his life he made the decision to come to what was then called Columbus Children’s Hospital. His preceptor for the pediatric primary care clinic in medical school had trained in Columbus and he had wonderful things to say about Columbus Children’s Hospital and Columbus. Dr. Brady’s wife hailed from Columbus and she was very proud of the hospital. In 1979, Dr. Brady completed his two-year residency here and then went on to Texas Children’s as an Infectious Diseases Fellow.
When asked about his most memorable experience while training at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Brady says that there were many, but there was a theme that stood out: camaraderie. “Everyone had each other’s back. All of the residents worked together and also did a lot outside of the hospital.” With Dr. Roger Friedman as the social director, the group attended events and formed athletic teams, such as softball. When Dr. Brady returned to Columbus, he renewed his resident friendship. When his family went out with the group, his children would say, “We are going with our doctor friends,” when talking about their activities. Dr. Brady cherishes the friendships formed back then and they are still strong today. In particular his friendships with Drs. Roger Friedman, Richard Petrella, Gregory Barrett, Mary McIlroy and Rob Forsythe.
Also enduring since the days of his residency is Dr. Brady’s passion for infectious diseases medicine. When nearing completion of medical school, and having matched in Columbus, Dr. Brady decided to participate in a six-week rotation in infectious diseases at Columbus Children’s Hospital. He was impressed with how being an infectious diseases physician is a lot like being a detective. Because of the wide array of conditions, there is not a designated set of go-to procedures or diagnostic tests. A great deal of time must be spent with the patient and their family collecting a history and evaluating all of the different signs and symptoms before identifying the diagnosis and the best possible treatment. And the effort is absolutely rewarding. Dr. Brady remembers treating two young children with meningococcemia who were critically ill. After being on the appropriate antibiotics regimen for three days, the children had recovered such that he was able to play with them.
Just as Dr. Brady values the longevity of his friendships formed back in his training days, he values the longevity he has experienced with his HIV infected patients and their families. When you go to the clinic and a patient runs down the hall and hugs you – it is a great feeling and unique to pediatrics. When you see patients on an ongoing basis, you get to see them grow up and start families of their own.” Not only are children with HIV surviving, they are thriving. Today, we can prevent the children of our HIV patients from becoming infected,” Dr. Brady shares.
There was a point in time when the career path that Dr. Brady traveled nearly took a different direction. When he returned to Columbus following his fellowship at Texas Children’s, he thought his career would be in research, and he began developing a lab to focus on cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. At that time, Dr. Brady was on inpatient service when the first AIDS patient was admitted. A few months later, the second AIDS patient was admitted when he was on service again. He was also beginning to see more hemophilia patients with AIDS and became known as the “AIDS expert”. He became deeply involved with clinical care and research through the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group.
More recently, he was elected to serve on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases (Redbook committee) and chaired the committee, from 2010 through 2014. He then served as the associate editor of the Red Book in 2015 and 2018 and will serve again in 2021. Dr. Brady served as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s and The Ohio State University, from 2005 to 2013 After stepping down as chair, he became involved with the patient and employee safety zero hero program. Since 2016, Brady has been serving as Nationwide Children’s interim Physician Director of Epidemiology while continuing to see patients in the HIV clinic.
Throughout his career, Brady has not only maintained friendships from his training days, but also collaborative partnerships. Dr. Friedman played an instrumental role in helping Dr. Brady establish a full time allergy and immunology program at the hospital to supplement the volunteer services provided by community allergists such as Dr. Friedman. Another long lasting collaborative relationship is with Dr. William J. Barson, Section Chief of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Barson was serving as a fellow at the time that Dr. Brady was doing his training here. He encouraged Dr. Brady with his career choice. Dr. Katalin Koranyi who was head of the ambulatory department when Dr. Brady was a resident eventually went on to help him with the HIV clinic. She served as his mentor when he was a resident, and later they became partners. Dwight Powell MD was the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases when Dr. Brady returned to Columbus after his fellowship. He was a great leader, mentor, clinician and teacher. Octavio Ramilo MD is currently the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases and he has created a world class division of infectious diseases.
When asked what the “today” Dr. Brady would say to the “resident” Dr. Brady, he responds that when opportunities arise, to make the most of them. “I have taken a number of different turns in my career and every time there has been a little bit of a risk. For the most part, there is a huge value in trying to broaden what you do and trying to find the things you like the most. It is important to always put your family first because they are your biggest responsibility. It is definitely possible to have a strong and enjoyable family life and a satisfying professional life that keeps you excited and maintains the feeling that you can make a difference.”
Alumni Feature: Denis R. King, MD
(Published March 2018)
When Dr. Denis King was an Ohio State University resident in general surgery, he had rotations at Columbus Children’s Hospital both as an intern in 1970 and as a third year in 1973. When he reflects on the experience, he shares that the surgeons were “technically excellent and the practice of pediatric surgery was vast. We did thoracic, abdominal, GYN, ENT, tumors, burns and trauma. It was truly general surgery and a very interesting practice.” One of his most memorable experiences was having the opportunity to remove a large hepatic cancer in a one year old. The operation required removal of over 50 percent of the liver, which was resected en bloc with the intrahepatic vena cava as well as removing a tumor embolus from the portal vein. The child recovered uneventfully and was cured following chemotherapy.
A key player in Dr. King’s residency experience was his primary surgical mentor, E. Thomas Boles, MD. “He was a very detail-oriented and demanding clinician. I have tried to emulate his behavior in every way.” The relationship has lasted through the years since those days in the 70’s. Dr. King still has dinner with the 97-year-old Dr. Boles every week and they share stories of things that took place some forty years ago.
Following his third-year experience in 1973, Dr. King completed his first year of pediatric surgery training at Columbus Children’s Hospital from 1974 to 1975. He spent his second year (1975 – 1976) at the University Hospital in Miami, Florida. Dr. King remarks that was the first time in six years that he had every other weekend off. He then spent two years (1976 – 1978) in the United States Navy at The Bethesda Navy Hospital in Washington, DC. In 1978, he returned to Columbus to join the faculty at The Ohio State University and partner with Dr. Boles.
During the last forty years, Dr. King has “… operated on about 28,000 children. I have written more than 100 papers and I serve on The Ohio State University faculty as a full professor of surgery.” As a teacher, Dr. King has won “… every teaching award at Nationwide Children's Hospital as well as at Mt. Carmel Hospital and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.” He shares that this year he is being honored by the surgery training program at Riverside Methodist Hospital as well.
Dr. King’s enthusiasm and accomplishments as a teacher are not only reflected in these awards but also in the lives he has positively influenced. “I have had the privilege of participating in the training of over forty pediatric surgeons. They will be my legacy to the future. Many of them still call me for advice with difficult and puzzling problems.” It looks like Dr. King has accomplished his goal to emulate Dr. Boles not only as a surgeon but also as a mentor.
Now, looking back over the decades of his career, Dr. King shared that if he could go back to the 70’s and talk to the resident he was then, he would give him the following advice: “Read more. Write more. Work harder and think more about your patients and less about yourself.”
Alumni Feature: Mary McIlroy, MD
(Published December 2017)
When it was time to decide where they would want to complete their residencies, Dr. Mary McIlroy and her husband Scott both knew they wanted to stay in Columbus. He wanted to train for OB/Gyn and she wanted a wide variety of experiences in both adult and pediatric care. They both entered flexible residencies through Mt. Carmel, hers allowing for four months of the year to be spent at what was then called Columbus Children’s Hospital.
McIlroy describes her residency days during the 1970s as a time of vast opportunities, responsibilities and lasting friendships. Many of the pediatric subspecialty areas were still early in their development, the faculty numbered about 40, and residents were the primary medical staff in the ER, NICU and ICU. She remembers a taxing summer enterovirus meningitis epidemic with over 700 cases, and the long hours caring for gravely ill children during a peak in the prevalence of Reye syndrome. One of McIlroy’s most memorable experiences was when she called on Dr. Danny Moore, a neurosurgery resident, to place an intra-cranial monitoring bolt on a Reye syndrome patient at nearly midnight on New Year’s Eve. They then celebrated the success of the procedure, the improved status of the patient, and the arrival of the New Year. The resident groups were smaller then, but the friendships formed have been lasting.
The group of faculty mentors was also small in the 1970s, but McIlroy shares that the gifts the mentors offered were immeasurable – helping the residents understand how to work with families and to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions with confidence. Dr. Kati Koranyi provided exceptional advice for challenges in patient care and resident education during McIlroy’s early years in the Primary Care Clinic. Drs. Grant Morrow, Bruce Meyer and Toni Eaton encouraged her to expand her responsibilities and her career into education leadership, which became the focus of much of her professional work. Following her residency training, McIlroy pursued a 40-year career at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University, caring for families, teaching residents and students in the ambulatory clinics, and administering medical student education programs. During those years, she participated in the evolution of teaching and learning in pediatrics as she assumed the role of pediatric clerkship director at Children’s and Med 3-4 Program Director at OSU. While the responsibilities were extensive, McIlroy describes the opportunity to work with students, residents, faculty, curricula, technology and patient care, all while expanding knowledge, as stimulating, rewarding and great fun.
When asked what today’s retired Mary McIlroy, MD, would say to the 1970s resident McIlroy, the response was inspiring.
“I would tell my earlier self, and any young entrant into pediatrics, that they have entered the most magnificent and varied field of medicine and that, despite what they think their future will be, they have no idea what is coming and must remain open and receptive to new thoughts and ideas. The love affair with medicine, and pediatrics in specific, is very real, strong, and long lasting. In many currently inconceivable ways, it will fulfill and enrich their lives and offer abundant meaning and invaluable relationships. Like any relationship, it will also bring challenges, and sometimes heartbreak, to their person, to their beliefs, and to their plans. The constant need to learn and relearn, to part with old ways of behaving and doing things, and to embrace change and adapt to new knowledge, new processes, new rules, and new people is beyond imagination. At the same time, the possibilities of the future are so very enticing and will, in the long run, bring much gratification and happiness.”