Q&A With Cleveland Clinic’s New Chair of Community and General Pediatrics

Meet Michelle Medina, MD

Cleveland Clinic Children’s is pleased to name Michelle Medina, MD, as its new chair of the Department of Community and General Pediatrics.

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Dr. Medina, who is board-certified in pediatrics, completed her pediatric residency at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, serving as chief resident for an additional year. She returned in 2007 and has held several leadership positions. Her specialty interests include childhood immunizations, pediatric asthma, and quality measurement in pediatrics.

Consult QD recently sat down with her to learn what drives her passion for helping patients and the priorities she has for the department moving forward.

What led you to establish your career at Cleveland Clinic Children’s?

I completed medical school at the University of the Philippines. I saw everything from malaria and measles to untreated large tumors to conjoined twins. When it was time to do a residency, I had a tough decision to make. I visited several centers in the United States. Then I went to Cleveland and fell in love with Cleveland Clinic. I finished my pediatric residency, and stayed a year as chief resident. From there, I moved to the South and became medical director of a safety-net rural health clinic near Montgomery, Alabama, where I stayed for seven years before returning to Cleveland.

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What are your specialty interests?

Immunizations have always been a passion of mine. I grew up in a country where vaccine-preventable diseases were rampant because we lacked the resources and the infrastructure. Over time, this focus on public health evolved into an interest in healthcare quality measurement.

What drew you to community and general pediatrics?

I’ve loved pediatrics since medical school. While I thought for a while about going into fellowship, eventually the connection to patients and their families within a community practice was more appealing to me. You become part of families’ lives not just in the office, but because they are also your neighbors, your children’s schoolmates. Our department has 26 practice sites across Northeast Ohio, and over 100 physicians and APNs. I think the most successful — and satisfied — people that we have in the department are the ones that really embrace their role in the community.

What are your priorities for the Department of Community and General Pediatrics?

Regardless of the future direction of healthcare in this country, we are challenged in medicine to provide better value to patients. This means ensuring the highest quality care, in a cost-efficient way that delivers on the expectations of the patients — otherwise known as the Triple Aim. But there’s a fourth aim that’s just as important, and that’s ensuring the sustainability of our current workforce as well as training the workforce of the future.

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Tell us a bit about your research.

I’m interested in the elements in our care that have the most impact on patient outcomes and engagement. Our current work in care coordination shows that we can make gains in families’ ability to care for their children’s chronic conditions, such as asthma, by providing them with dedicated resources in the practice. We hope to see it make an impact by decreasing the need for hospitalization and increasing families’ quality of life.