Spotlight: Dr. Julie St-Pierre
Posted on Dec 14 2016 by the Canadian Paediatric Society | Permalink
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Dr. Julie St-Pierre
Where were you born? Where do you currently live?
I was born on March 23, 1974, in Montréal. I currently practise community paediatrics in Saguenay.
Can you describe your practice (e.g., Do you work in an office? Do you work for a solo or group practice? Do you run any special clinics? Etc.)
I have a solo practice at Clinique 180, a regional multidisciplinary hospital clinic (275,000 individuals), entirely dedicated to treating paediatric obesity with a groundbreaking, educational and motivational approach, centered on children, adolescents and their family. I created this clinic five years ago by founding a charity organization that supports community pediatricians in treating paediatric obesity. The organization provides financial support to get assistance from a nutritionist and a clinical nurse specialist in this social struggle. This approach is based on the American Let’s Move program, which was set up by Michelle Obama. I had the privilege of sitting on an advisory board for this program at the American Heart Association in 2010, and I adapted it to our rural and Canadian realities. To date, we have collected nearly half a million dollars, and the government of Quebec has taken a keen interest in our model, which uses the best fundamental and clinical knowledge in the treatment of paediatric obesity, in the community. Physicians and their teams must adapt to the socio-economic realities of families, make a constant effort to make information accessible and take into account the vulnerability criteria of their young patients.
What do you like most about your practice?
Without a doubt, the most interesting and most rewarding part of my work is sharing my young patients’ success with them and their families, especially when we initially thought it would be a very difficult, or even impossible, challenge for them.
Which of your community initiatives are you most proud of?
Delivering awareness talks in schools and mobilizing business people and the government around our cause, the fight against a disease that is too often stigmatized and that affects young people’s self-esteem and success. It’s so rewarding to realize that we can put our knowledge and medical credibility at the service of society. That is deeply satisfying.
What is the most precious lesson you have learned as a community paediatrician?
Patience and perseverance, because most of these young people are living in very difficult socio-economic conditions. It’s also important to knock on every door and never assume that “no” is the final answer.
What advice would you give to a colleague who’s just starting out in the profession?
If you have a genuine desire to commit yourself to a cause in community paediatrics, don’t count the time you put in. Believe in your project and don’t listen to people who discourage you. Become a social entrepreneur at the service of the most vulnerable in our society: children and youth.
In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenge in paediatrics over the next 10 years?
Community and general paediatrics must make itself heard at the national level. Our speciality deserves more recognition. Our expertise in the promotion and protection of healthy lifestyles is not very well known or valued. It’s becoming more and more important to gain recognition for our knowledge in the field and our social engagement in this major social struggle.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I give the maximum of my time and my energy, with my spouse, to my three boys (16, 15 and 5 years old) by taking part in challenging sports that they really love: cross-country skiing, running and cycling. I also enjoy cooking and finding the best healthy recipes for my family!
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