The Wellness Roundup With Dr. Jill

Meet Dr. Jill

Dr. Jill Garripoli
Dr. Jill Garripoli

Q: Why do you love being a Pediatrician?

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JG: The reason I love being a pediatrician so much is because, first and foremost, I get to smile and laugh every day. A patient’s funny remark, a giggle at one of my silly jokes, or a warm hug brings out the best in me and reminds me why I love my work so much. I also get a deep sense of gratification when I can help foster the connection between my patients and their parents. I enjoy being seen as a role model for my patients and I know I am in the right profession when a parent tells me, “Doctor Jill, you make a difference”.

Q: Who inspires you and why?

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JG: I can recall two mentors from my training who have left a lasting impression on me after all these years and who have shown by example what it means to be a great pediatrician. Dr. Bipin Patel was my clinic mentor and I learned from him the art of how to approach a patient visit with confidence and gentleness. Dr. Aimee LaRiviere was a young doctor a few years ahead of me in training and I always knew that if I could practice like Aimee I would be successful. In addition to her intelligence, she is loved by her patients because of her bright personality and contagious optimism. Finally, and most importantly, I am inspired by my sister Jean. Even though every one of my siblings inspires me every day, Jean is a dentist and when I see her interact with her patients I become even more driven to treat my patients and families with the respect, compassion, and thoroughness with which she treats her patients.

Q: What is something that parents should know about keeping their kids healthy?

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JG: In my opinion, keeping kids healthy starts with keeping yourself healthy as a parent. Too often I see parents sacrificing their own physical and emotional well-being since there are just not enough hours in the day to take care of their children, spouse, work/home, and the million other demands on their time. I have learned that children watch everything their parents do and when children see their parents feeling, looking, and acting well they thrive, too. I firmly believe that approaching children with consistency, reliability, and predictability helps them feel balanced and at ease. It is then way less stressful to get them to follow directions and cooperate. After thousands and thousands of interactions with parents and their children I have seen what works and what doesn’t…when a parent is off-center and coming at a child from a stressed or emotional place the child feels the resistance and things do not go so well. It is so much easier said than done and we all have to remember we are human and do the best we can.

Q: Do you have any advice for parents that will make going to the doctor’s office a more convenient, productive, or enjoyable experience?

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JG: The one thing that makes my job harder as a pediatrician is when parents use needles or throat swabs or any slightly uncomfortable office procedure as a threat to their children. When a parent says, “if you don’t behave the doctor will give you a shot”, it makes it difficult for me to be viewed by the child as a trusted adult. If I can gain the child’s confidence then the visit can go really well no matter what has to be done during the 15-30 minutes we are together. I also find that when the parent stays calm and positive during the visit the child most often responds to that energy and in turn acts calmly as well. Parents can help their children during a visit by reassuring them that they are being brave and doing a great job (even when they are crying!). That kind of encouragement goes a long way in a child’s eyes. It is also important for parents to remind their children that they are healthy and they need to listen to the doctor’s instructions and cooperate at home with the plan in order to help their bodies return to good health.

Q: What led you to become a Doctor?

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JG: As the 8th of 9 children in my family I was constantly surrounded by a great support system and encouraging home environment. No matter the ups and downs in life it was always reinforced to me that I could be or do or have anything if I put my mind to it. When I got the chance to observe the delivery of a newborn baby during my first college summer break I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. My decision was met with nothing less than excitement, positivity, and a “why not?” response from my family. I knew it was going to take a lot more than just book smarts to get through medical school, internship, and residency so having that support gave me the confidence to go for it.

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Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

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JG: One of the things I love to do is read inspirational material, watch an inspirational movie, or hang around people who make me feel like anything is possible. I have read a lot of quotes and I thought this was going to be a tough question to answer. However, I remember something my father says to my sister and I all the time: “If you are not the lead dog the scenery never changes.” My dad taught me to strive to be the best at whatever it was I chose to do. He taught me to have the “slight edge” mentality of showing up and getting the job done no matter what it was. He instilled in me that it is far more rewarding in life to be a leader and so the quote from my dad is my favorite.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jill or a Wellness Tour stop for your organization, contact Dr. Jill at Jill@HealthyAndHappyKids.com 

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