Five years ago, I retired after 30+ years of practice in front-line general pediatrics for Midelfort Clinic-Mayo Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My retirement found me increasingly involved with the American Academy of Pediatrics. I had not been particularly active in the academy during my years in practice other than maintaining my membership. I did, however, strongly believe in the efforts of the academy directed toward the education of pediatricians, the support of profession in general, and the Academy's overriding interest in the welfare of children.
Retirement changed my focus. Beginning with a bit of a shove from a mentor, Dr. Carl Eisenberg, a recent past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the AAP, I agreed to chair the new senior committee on the Wisconsin chapter. As a committee chair I was a member of the chapter executive committee which is advisory to the board. Since then I've become Webmaster for the chapter Web site, a situation that I, and many of my friends, can barely believe. Again with encouragement from Dr. Eisenberg, I've become interested in our chapter history and have made a couple of trips to the AAP archives in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. I have also become one of the trained oral interviewers for the AAP. In 2006, I began service to the academy as a newly elected member of the Executive Committee of the AAP Section for Senior Members.
I was born, the oldest of six children, to Pat and Ray O'Halloran and raised in a west Minneapolis suburb. Sometime in junior high, I decided I'd like to become a physician and kept at it in spite of some mixed messages from a beloved family doctor. The education track went from Benilde High School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota to undergrad at John Carroll University in Cleveland Ohio, to Medical school at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, to a rotating internship in Portland Oregon. During medical school, I met and married Marty. My marriage to her was, and continues to be, a matter of profound wonder to me. Then my career was detoured by the doctor draft in 1968. While in the Army I was initially an artillery Battalion Surgeon near the Vietnam DMZ and then an emergency room (receiving) physician with the 95th Evacuation Hospital in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Finally, then, with my two year obligation with the Army finished, I began my pediatric residency with Good Samaritan Hospital and the four hospital residency program in Phoenix AZ. My wife and I decided that we were Upper-Midwesterners at heart and we headed back north with our three children, Teresa, Patrick and Peggy. I wanted to be part of a multispecialty group practice and found a perfect fit with the Midelfort Clinic in Eau Claire Wisconsin, less than 2 hours from the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
I loved my career in general pediatrics at Midelfort clinic. Other activities during those years included membership on Midelfort Clinic board of directors; membership on the first board of directors of the clinic's prepaid health plan; teaching responsibilities with the University of Wisconsin Medical School, the University of Minnesota Medical School, and the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at the College of St Catherine in Saint Paul, Minnesota; consultant for a western Wisconsin head start program; chair of clinic and hospital pediatric departments; secretary of our county medical society; and 17 years as medical director of a neurodevelopment evaluation clinic serving nine counties of northern Wisconsin.
In my home town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, I'm still involved with Luther Hospital, now integrated with Midelfort Clinic. I'm a member of the Library Committee, I'm a Physician Adviser for the hospital coding section of the Medical Records Department and I've organized our retired physicians into a quasi-official section of our clinic. In the community, I'm on the board of directors of the local Institute for Learning in Retirement, responsible for arranging classes to offer the 500 retired persons on the mailing list. And recently I'm a volunteer for the local hospice program.
I consider it a privilege to help with the goals of the AAP Section for Senior Members as a member of the Executive Committee. I believe these goals to include: pre-retirement help for soon-to-retire pediatricians, involvement with the AAP history project, fostering volunteerism, mentoring pediatricians just starting practice, assisting the AAP with advocacy, and helping pediatricians stay connected to the AAP as a way to continue their career-long interest in promoting the welfare of children.