Full circle: From patient to pediatrician

December 4, 2020

If you close your eyes and pause for a moment, can you recall what you dreamed of becoming when you were a young child? As children, many people imagine growing up to have careers as firefighters, painters, doctors, dancers, astronauts – the sky is the limit, as the saying goes. How many people, however, actually go on to pursue those early aspirations?

From an early age, Dr. Beverly Lee knew she wanted to study medicine. “I knew pretty quickly pediatrics was for me. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she said.

After attending Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions in Houston, she went on to earn her degree in medicine from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine. And now, she has come full circle: Dr. Lee joined Texas Children’s Pediatrics Green Park clinic in October where she is practicing alongside both her childhood pediatrician, Dr. Ian Kavin, and her mentor throughout medical school, Dr. Shannon Hayes.

Coming full circle

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to the health care industry. The start of the pandemic coincided with Dr. Lee’s final year of residency, during which time she was named chief resident of her program. As chief resident, she was able to work closely with hospital and residency program’s leaders as Texas Children’s adapted to the circumstances of providing care amid a global health crisis. It was a learning opportunity and reaffirmed her hope of continuing at the organization at the end of the program.

“When I was given the opportunity to work at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Green Park, that was my dream job and knew I couldn’t pass it up,” Dr. Lee said.

Both Dr. Kavin and Dr. Hayes are delighted about Dr. Lee joining the practice and eager to learn from her just as much as she is to continue learning from her mentors.

“From the first time I met her in medical school, her go-getter personality stood out,” Dr. Hayes said.

Getting to see patients grow from newborn to college age, “that’s one of the most rewarding aspects of a pediatrician’s career,” Dr. Kavin said. Getting to work side by side with one of his former patients is an honor and he looks forward to collaborating with Dr. Lee in the practice.

With the ongoing pandemic, Dr. Hayes believes the timing of Dr. Lee joining the Green Park practice could not be better. In her time as a pediatric resident, Dr. Lee always approached her work with a mixture of curiosity and calm that Dr. Hayes says is invaluable.

“She’s just one of those people who is grounded and down to earth,” Dr. Hayes said, adding, “She’s bright and she brings fresh ideas and great energy to the table.”

Practicing kindness

A big part of what motivates Dr. Lee is the ability to play a positive role in the lives of so many different children. Born and raised in Houston to Indonesian parents, Dr. Lee always found kinship in her childhood pediatrician, who emigrated to the U.S. from South Africa.

She vividly remembers her parents bringing her to well visits to see her pediatrician, Dr. Kavin, and thinking he was extremely kind, patient and a good listener.

“As a child I remember distinctly how he treated my immigrant parents with respect and kindness,” Dr. Lee said, adding, “I admired that and wanted to do that for my career as well.”

Patient visits are not just about the particular ailment a patient is experiencing for Dr. Kavin. Doctor visits can be intimidating, so he always seeks to provide a listening ear to patients. “I aim to take a collaborative approach to care by trying to fully understanding what patients are going through,” he said.

Dr. Lee begins each day with a meditation before she greets her first patient in clinic. Adding this element into her morning routine has helped to anchor her and keep perspective, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is eager to help patients navigate the health care world in her role as a primary care provider, particularly first time parents and families whose children require specialized care.

“It feels like things have come full circle. It’s such a privilege to do what we do,” Dr. Lee said. “I hope to learn how to maintain that joy about why we became physicians and reach the same longevity of career as Dr. Hayes and Dr. Kavin.”

To learn more about Texas Children’s Pediatrics Green Park or make an appointment using MyChart, texaschildrenspediatrics.org.

Post by:

Beverly P. Lee, MD, MPH