Hometown: Mayfield, Ky.
Family: Husband and a second grade daughter
Hobbies: Travel, hiking, being a Brownie Scout’s mother
Education: BA from Transylvania University, MD from University of Kentucky and pediatric training at UCLA/Cedar Sinai
Medical News: Why did you become a doctor?
Julia Richerson: In high school and college I had excellent science teachers and loved science. In college I did a summer program at a Community Health Center in rural West Virginia and from then on knew that I wanted to do primary care medicine and practice in a health center.
MN: Why did you choose this particular specialty?
JR: Pediatrics is so interesting. Not only is the practice of medicine interesting, but the opportunities for advocacy are very exciting. Every visit is so different, seeing newborns through adolescents. Being able to meet families and assist them on their journey as a parent is a privilege.
MN: What is the biggest misconception about your field?
JR: I speak with young people who have an interest in medicine, and they are sometimes discouraged by what they are hearing from physicians. There have been a lot of changes since I started practicing 20 years ago, and some are very challenging for us. I believe being a physician is a wonderful profession and we should be encouraging young people to pursue their dreams.
MN: What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about doctors?
JR: I hope people know that we truly care about them and their health and wellness.
MN: What is your opinion of managed care and how will this affect you and your practice?
JR: I have had a great experience working with health insurance/ managed care providers. The focus has been on improving the health of individuals and of populations, and how to do that best, with limited resources. As a physician I have found that the closer I have worked with managed care companies the better care my patients receive from me and their managed care company.
MN: What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
JR: I hiked the Inca Trail (a hiking trail in Peru that ends at Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas).
MN: What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?
JR: I read it in a book. The answer to “how” is “why”. When you are wondering how to do something, make sure you know exactly why you are doing it, and things are much clearer.
MN: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?
JR: A teacher
MN: Who are your heroes in healthcare?
JR: Dr. Donald Berwick, with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Mary Breckenridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service.
MN: Who are your heroes in real life?
JR: The families in my practice. They give me great inspiration.
MN: What’s the last good book you read?
JR: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance (an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town with a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class).
MN: Favorite daytime beverage?
JR: Real Coke