Dr. Kirsten Hollett joins us after recently completing her residency at The University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital and graduating from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Kirsten says becoming a pediatrician was her plan and passion since she was a child, and her pediatric rotation in medical school confirmed that for her. “I love the joy that kids have. Whether they are well or even if they’re sick, they are still so much fun.”
During her residency on the South Side, Kirsten especially appreciated partnering with families to help children stay well and grow up healthy. “I love seeing families grow up and have the continuity that comes with forming a relationship with them over the years.”
Kirsten saw a lot of parents with significant challenges that can be a result of poverty, but she says that seeing families overcome obstacles – and having a role in helping them thrive – is one of the most meaningful parts of pediatrics. Regardless of a family’s situation, Kirsten says the goal is always to “get kids on the best trajectory that we can and when they shift off their potential, that’s where we find an opportunity for change.”
Partnering with families is essential in pediatrics, says Kirsten, and having a one-year-old son of her own reinforced that belief. “I respect that parents know their kids best. They know all the nuances of their children, as well as what is realistic for their families.”
She says she likes to determine together with families what their strengths are, what their challenges might be and how she can step in to be a partner.
What attracted Kirsten to KFPP, she says, is our dedication the medical home. “KF tries to serve kids with a vast array of needs they may have. Having them plugged in with preventative care and acute care—and then having the psychology, asthma care, nutrition and travel clinics all there as well is really unique and impressive to me.”
Kirsten is particularly passionate about pediatric obesity and wellness. She helped design and launch a research study to interview children and teens about previous conversations they have had about weight with their doctor in order to improve those conversations and outcomes. She and her team asked questions about body language, do they prefer parents in the room or privacy, what language is helpful and more. The preliminary data indicates that children and teens respond best to a conversation that ensures they have autonomy and a say in what will work for them personally. “It’s my passion to take on this complex challenge that affects a lot of families.”
When she’s not busy working, Kirsten enjoys spending time with her son, running, and cooking with her husband.