I’m Stephen James Pearson, born in Hanover, New Hampshire and raised in Boston, Bethesda (MD), Gainesville (FL), and Orange (CT). I attended college at the University of Connecticut, studying anthropology and psychology. After 2+ years serving as a health/sanitation volunteer in Peace Corps Paraguay (where I met and worked with my future wife Mary Lou), I studied premed at the University of Maryland. I attended Yale Medical School and did my pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Mary Lou and I have two grown sons, Matthew (a technology specialist for a company that designs/supports websites and a gifted artist) and Daniel (currently an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School).
Over the course of my career, I have been a volunteer at two community health centers and a paid employee at four, including Community Health of Central Washington, home of the family practice residency training program called Central Washington Family Medicine, where I have been for the past decade. In addition to providing outpatient pediatric services and mentoring family practice residents, I am responsible for the pediatric curriculum for the residents. Some of the families in my caseload have been with me since I came to the Yakima Valley in 1989.
Over the years I have maintained a high level of community involvement outside my workload. When my sons were in Boy Scouts (they both achieved Eagle Scout), I served as Scout Master. For the past several years I have served on the Central Washington Vaccine-Preventable Disease Coalition, and I have been co-chair for the past four or five years. Previously, I served on the board of the Children’s Alliance. And for the past 20 years I have been involved in the AAP’s Pediatric Research in the Office Setting (PROS), including four years as the Steering Committee Chair. I continue with PROS as the State Coordinator. I am also the primary care provider for some of the children residing at Yakima’s Kinderhaufen, an advanced pediatric nursing facility. I have been a volunteer pediatrician at Enterprise for Progress in the Community (EPIC), a local early learning provider, for almost a decade to support Mary Lou’s work in early learning. Together we have developed health-focused classroom activities, “My Healthy Heart” that addresses healthy eating/exercise and “Hands” that addresses the importance of hand washing. Family practice residents have taught these topics with our developed curricula to 3- to 5-year-olds. With my support, Mary Lou has developed bilingual booklets to address those topics and several others that promote healthy habits and literacy development. I also have served as a volunteer pediatrician at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT; the Camp, founded by Paul Newman, provides real summer camp experiences to children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
My special interests include mentoring family practice residents and medical students, promoting vaccines, supporting and participating in pediatric research in the primary care setting, caring for medically complicated children in Central Washington, and advocacy for low-income families (particularly Spanish-speaking farm worker families).
As a WCAAP member, I value the opportunity to share the perspective of the rural pediatric reality east of the Cascade Mountains, sharing and listening to challenges faced by pediatricians throughout the State, and problem-solving for the good of pediatric providers and the children we serve. I previously served as a Trustee from 1991 to 1997.
Mary Lou and I have had the opportunity to revisit Paraguay three times since our Peace Corps service; our most recent trip was in 2013. We have enjoyed traveling in other Spanish-speaking countries and hope to visit Costa Rica in the near future.
The attached photo, taken in August of 2013, shows Mary Lou, Daniel, me, and Matthew on our deck with our western view of the Cascade Mountains. Unfortunately, it was a hazy day.