Meet the physicians at Pediatric Alliance!
Birthplace: Hazelton, PA
Education: St. Peter’s Prep School/ University of Pennsylvania – B.A., Biochemistry/ Hahnemann Medical College – M.D.
Training: Pediatric Residency and Chief Residency at Long Island Children’s Hospital. Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Q: You’re a Jersey boy! Whereabouts?
A: I grew up in Clifton, NJ.
Q: Best memories?
A: I have always been an avid sports fan. Growing up in northern New Jersey, I was a diehard Yankee fan and hated those who vilified the team as the “damn Yankees.” I recollect the highpoint of my sports enthusiasm: the 1969 Mets beating the powerful Orioles in the World Series. The Joe Namath-led Jets winning the Super Bowl might place second.
Q: A Yankees AND a Mets fan! Wow, you were conflicted!
A: Growing up in a staunch Catholic household and attending an ultra-conservative Jesuit high school, my steepest devotion was with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. So fanatical was my devotion that I cried when the team lost games (this is a teenager we’re talking about!).
Q: Penn’s not known as a sports college. Why Philly?
A: Without a car in the family and student riots at colleges in New York City, Philadelphia was the best college option. At Penn, I immediately joined the sports staff of the student newspaper, “The Daily Pennsylvanian.” I started out as a freshman covering fencing and lightweight football and the like, and worked my way up to assistant editor. Staying up all night periodically as copy editor, I received training for the every third night sleep deprivation as a resident on-call! Those early 1970’s were great days for Penn basketball (ranked #3 in the country at one point) and I was fortunate to travel the Ivy League circuit.
Q: Sounds like you wanted to be a sportswriter.
A: Plan B was writing for a Philadelphia newspaper or joining the Peace Corps. Fortunately, Plan A worked out and four years at Hahnemann Medical College followed. I lived near the Philadelphia Art Museum of Rocky Balboa fame for 4 years– ironically about 30 years later I ran up the hallowed steps myself after finishing the Philly marathon.
Q: You’re a runner!
A: Yes! Although not much of an athlete, I’ve always believed that “anybody can run,” and that you don’t have to be good at sports to enjoy them. Unfortunately, the best potential racing years of my life were spent in the library or in the hospital or driving my children to practice—-so later-in-life running became a compensatory diversion. In fact, right after completing this interview, I must sign up for the Pittsburgh Marathon!
Q: What brought you to Pittsburgh?
A: Again pure irony. As Chief Resident at what is now Long Island Children’s Hospital, I waited so long to apply for a Pediatric Infectious Disease fellowship that I closed myself out. A fortuitous opening at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and, I thought, “What the hell, two years in Pittsburgh and then back to the east coast.”
Q: Well that didn’t work out very well!
A: Not like I planned it! The highpoint of my venture into academic medicine was research on a newly resistant strain of an ear infection bacteria called Branhamella (now Moraxella) catarrhalis. The cultures were performed by a microbiology technician with whom I fell in love and married almost as fast as the bacteria grew — and the Pittsburgh chapter began. Four children, many marathons, and thirty-two years later, the beat goes on!
Q: So how has life in the ‘Burgh been?
A: Practicing for so long in the North Hills has been a dream come true for an old “New Yorker.”
Q: Be honest: What’s better, a Philly Cheesesteak or a Primanti Bros. sandwich?
A: Nothing tastes better than a “cheese with” (onions) at Pat’s on the Southside of Philadelphia, especially when preceded by a beer or two! My son, who grew up in Pittsburgh and lives in Philly now, is not impressed.
Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
A: I commonly go against the grain! I’m a big fan of Fleetwood Mac – “You can go your own way!”
Q: What do you like best about being a pediatrician?
A: The best thing is that I am taller than most of my patients (until they hit their growth spurts)!
Q: What’s on your “bucket list?”
A: Presently I have only one item on my bucket list: travelling to the city of “The Lost Generation” — Paris. I will keep you all posted!