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Kids First founder and now-retired owner

Just over a decade ago, Dr. Cathy DiVincenzo opened a tiny pediatric practice in a shared office space in Skokie. She had two weeks to start up her business, after leaving the practice where she previously worked, and no promises that patients would come.

But, Dr. DiVincenzo, who affectionately goes by “Dr. Cathy” to her colleagues and patients, had overcome bigger challenges in the past. She had already become the first person in her family to go to college–let alone graduate medical school–and she gave birth to triplets in her third year at Rush Medical School.

Thanks to a lot of hard work, grit, charisma and love, that small practice grew to become Kids First Pediatric Partners–which today includes six other physicians, four nurse practitioners, and dozens of nurses, medical assistants and office personnel. What started with a few devoted families from her previous practice (complete with Dr. Cathy’s mother as a part time receptionist), became one of the fastest-growing pediatric practices on the North Shore.

“When I first started, I did not picture myself having a partner, let alone six other physicians and four nurse practitioners. It’s really gratifying to see the response of patients who continue to refer friends and family to us. Most importantly, I feel really lucky to have found the partners and associates I work with.”

“Our practice reflects a desire to go above and beyond what our patients need, creating a medical home that feels like a community. We want families to feel recognized when they walk into our office, to feel like part of a family.”

What keeps Dr. Cathy motivated each day in a career that can be exhausting is her gratitude for the opportunity to do what she loves. “I never wake up in the morning and think, ‘Oh, I have to go to work.’ I love looking at my schedule and seeing families that I know and love. The relationship part of pediatrics is so important to me. The other thing I really love about pediatrics is the playfulness and resiliency of kids and families.”

After growing from about 100 families in the first year of the practice to 14,000 active patients today, Dr. Cathy considers the practice the “perfect size.” She hopes in future years to continue to be innovative by offering more new programs like One Book at a Time and the monthly parenting lecture series. Most importantly, Dr. Cathy says, “I want to keep focusing on our families and doing what we do best.”