Tell us about your family.
My husband, Paul Walsh Jr., is a utility worker in the regulation department at Pennsylvania American Water Co. We have a son, Matthew, who is 20 and a daughter, Mara, 18.
My children are my world along with my husband. I have and always will be their biggest cheerleader and advocate. My son Matt just completed his second year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where he studies accounting. He is a dean’s list student who makes me so proud. He has a kind, sweet way, and we have always had a very close relationship.
My daughter Mara graduated from Dunmore High School this June, the same high school my husband, son and I graduated from. She will be starting her undergraduate studies at the Catholic University of America this fall, studying architecture. She is an honor student with a very vivacious personality. She has the most special relationship with my father, which makes me so proud as a parent to witness. My son’s similar bond with my mother is equally beautiful to watch. It solidifies the reason I wanted to return to Dunmore and raise my family here.
Why did you decide to stay in this area to practice medicine?
I have never practiced outside of the area since returning from my residency. I stay in this area for one very special reason — so my children could benefit from having their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins around them.
This area is so important because community and family mean so very much to the people who live here, and those who chose to return do so for the very same reason I did.
I currently live with my husband and children in Dunmore, in the same town my husband and I grew up in.
Tell us about the rest of your family.
I am the daughter and youngest born to Domnick and Ann Marie Iezzi. They are two selfless, special people who gave of themselves unconditionally to my brother and me. My dad was a self-employed masonry contractor before his retirement, and my mom a fabulous homemaker and then baby-sitter to my children before they entered preschool. They taught me I could do whatever I put my mind to, but only with hard work and good habits.
I have one older brother, Mark Iezzi. He is married and lives in Dunmore with his wife and three sons.
My husband and I both have close families. We are both the youngest in our families. My husband is one of four children. His two sisters live in Dunmore and his brother lives in California. My children were the youngest grandchildren on both sides of the family.
I was very fortunate to have had wonderful in-laws, Paul and Evelyn Walsh, who have both passed but who treated me like a daughter. My kids have three first cousins on my side and five first cousins on my husband’s. They are all very close and supportive of each other.
Where did you study?
I studied biology at the University of Scranton for my undergraduate degree and then entered Georgetown University School of Medicine, where I received my medical degree in 1992. I did my three-year pediatrics residency at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Where do you practice?
I have practiced in Dickson City for 21 years; 20 years with Physicians Health Alliance (PHA). I worked my first year in the area as the first partner hired by Dr. Stanley Blondek before we were hired by PHA.
Why medicine? Why pediatrics?
I chose medicine initially because of my love for the sciences, especially human anatomy, but I stuck with it despite the challenges because of my desire to help others. I did not come from a family of medically trained individuals though.
I chose pediatrics because I love children and development, and the ability
to teach such responsive, willing minds is incredible.
What do you love about your job?
I love the kids and watching them grow and thrive. I love the way new parents look at their newborns and want to learn how to properly care for them.
I love kids when they get older and want to take an active part in their health and well-being.
Do you have a special way of handling kids so they’re not frightened of the doctor?
All children are different in how they perceive the office setting. We know the 15- to 18-month-olds are going to have the hardest experiences because at that age they start having recall of prior experiences, and unfortunately the vaccines they received at the prior visit are part of that recall. We just keep it friendly and warm.
I love it though when parents tell me they pass the office and their kids are yelling “There’s Dr. Kathy’s office,” or waving, “hi, Dr. Kathy.”
What are the challenges in your field?
Pediatrics is a challenging profession. We actually have two patients during each visit, the child and their parent. Both have questions and needs that need to be fulfilled during that visit, and that is not always easy, especially when they may not be on the same page about issues or concerns.
Pediatrics is also a very happy profession dealing with a very healthy patient population for the most part; however, it is in times of chronic or rare terminal illnesses in children that it becomes most challenging and difficult. Thank God those times are rare.
How do you balance your professional and home life?
My profession is no different then others when it comes to balancing professional and home life responsibilities.
I do admit it was harder when my kids were school age and I was still seeing patients in the hospital before hospitalists managed our inpatient population.
Back then, all three Scranton hospitals had a nursery and a pediatric floor. So, some mornings that meant getting one child on the bus, getting one to a preschool and then stopping at six different units in the hospitals before getting to the office by 9 a.m.
That was challenging, but it was accomplished because I knew no different. Sometimes gym clothes were forgotten or a toy for show and tell never made it in a backpack, but for the most part it worked because I have an incredible husband and partner who helped me juggle our crazy but wonderful life.
I also had some great role models and a boss — when my kids were younger — who, as a mother, understood all the hats I wore and wanted me never to miss the important things. That boss was Dr. Karen Murphy, who is now our state secretary of health.