47 Years Determination and Passion for Patients
When you embark on the journey to become a physician, you are making a commitment not only to yourself, but to the countless patients you will have for years to come. A commitment that you, as their doctor, will try your hardest to treat them and provide them with the best care. Those who saddle up for this long road, come with two mindsets: determination and passion! Two qualities that Dr. Loraine Stern has kept with her since she first began treating patients 47 years ago.
Dr. Stern received her medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. After medical school, she became a resident at UCLA where she was approached by a veteran physician who encouraged her to go to Newhall after her residency. “A man who was a pediatric neurologist came up to me and said ’there’s someone in Newhall who needs help’ and I thought to myself, ‘where is Newhall?’, no one knew about it at that time, and Valencia didn’t even exist. When I first arrived here I thought, I’ll do it for a year”. Coming from the windy city, she wanted to be in a place where she could escape winter and sky scrapers, where everything was within walking distance; she came to onion fields, carrot crops, and mule farms. This place would be her professional home for the next 47 years that she fondly enjoyed.
As a young female physician, she always wanted to become a surgeon. “When I was in training, I wanted to become a pediatric surgeon, because you fix things for the rest of their [patients] life.” At-this-time, this field was a male dominated specialty and females were deterred from becoming one. “Surgeons did not welcome women, and they did everything they could to discourage women from becoming surgeons.” To make herself feel better when she was upset or frustrated, she would work in the pediatric unit. “I would go in and just hold babies or help out the nurses with the babies and thought, “Wait a minute!” In this “a-ha” moment she realized she found her specialty. “If they make me feel good that’s where I shall be” and she stuck with this for the next several years.
Starting out, Dr. Stern was very confident in her skills as a new physician. “I knew a lot of new stuff, but I didn’t have the experience and judgement you get from being a physician over the years. Now the new doctors have a lot more information but I have the wisdom and knowledge from being a veteran physician” through the years, she has treated many patients and now treats the next generation that she calls, “grand patients”. Dr. Stern is known to have a very simple and relaxed demeanor with a hint of whimsy. “Sometimes patients come in and want to know what kind of earrings I’m wearing,“ as we discussed her festive elephant pendants and plastic, ivory-like ring.
Dr. Stern will be retiring sometime next year due to health concerns but will continue working on the business side of Valencia Pediatrics as one of the original partners of the seven that currently presides over the practice. She will also be assisting her stepson in his smoking cessation research. “I will be helping him in his research, except I’ll be doing physicals on adults, bleh!”, she jokingly retorted. Over the years, she has touched many lives and looks forward to working in her art studio in her home in Santa Monica doing figures.” I don’t really care for landscapes or anything like that; I love figures because it has to deal with people.” For her 47 years of service she truly was inspired by her patients, staff, and the people she met along the way. One thing is for certain she really enjoyed her job and is sad to have to leave it. “I never ever didn’t want to go to work, I wanted to sleep in, but I always enjoyed coming to work.”
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