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VBD Star Power List: Kevin McKim, MD

Influential Physicians & Their Specialties

Kevin McKim, Neonatologist


The day to day has been and will be demanding. Demanding of our time, our energy, and our patience. Don’t think it has to be draining though and don’t think it has to be a grind. Take time away for your families and take time away for yourself, even if it's just stealing away for a moment to grab lunch.


Cultivate a “don’t know” mindset and allow yourself to approach each experience like a kid, with wonder, awe, and curiosity, as if everything is new, and scary, and awesome. Sometimes, all three.


TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH


Find ways to take care of your physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise, manage stress, get enough sleep, and go for regular medical check-ups.


In residency, I got really sick. After months of daily nausea, aches, weight loss, and being drawn thin, I was diagnosed with systemic sarcoidosis, and sent to a circus of specialists. There was a point of pride that I had in showing up every day. I never called out. I never stopped. The patients, the children, entrusted to my care came first. Always.


My cardiologist was the first person to tell me I was foolish. And he said to me, “fine young doctor you’re making.” I was indignant. How dare he? He asked me more questions—how much did I sleep? How often was I tired, angry, and not enjoying things? When was the last time I cooked dinner for myself? When was the last time I had gone running?


Nearly 18 months later, I realized what he was getting at.


It wasn’t until I met my cardiologist, who informed me that without proper care sarcoidosis can harden my heart until it doesn't respond anymore. That challenged me so I went home and started running. That one lifestyle change helped to improve my health.


SUPPORT FOR INITIATIVES


I’d love to shout out the work the March of Dimes does for prematurity, and The Examined Life Journal, a publication that is a forum for people in medicine to publish stories of life in, around, and adjacent to our often strange occupations.


ABOUT DR. KEVIN MCKIM


I am an East Coast kid at heart. Living in California and having winters without snow still doesn’t feel right, even after I’ve been out here for a bit. Granted, I don’t mind the sunshine. I grew up in Massachusetts, and went to college, at first, for marine biology in Maine. I transitioned over to premed, and after graduating worked for 2 years in Boston at the Ragon Institute for HIV research, working on projects exploring why some people were immune to infection by the virus.


I attended medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia, as a member of the inaugural class of the Saint Luke’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. Without my time at Saint Luke’s, I know I would not be the physician, or the person, I am today. I went on to residency at Cohens Children’s Medical Center, Long Island, Queens, NY, to train as a pediatrician.


My friends and family knew I would be a neonatologist before I did. The work was deeply satisfying, from the ICU care to the quieter moments of helping new parents burp their infants (they always tap too softly) or feedings (they always feed too much). Everyone heard my enthusiasm for the work, and it was no wonder I went on to a fellowship at Stanford in Perinatal-Neonatal medicine. There, I published research about systems to better measure changes in infants’ blood pressures, a case report about COVID-19 in neonates, and had my first short story, The Emu Wars, published in The Examined Life Journal. Most importantly, I met my fiancé, Lisa, in November 2019 in San Francisco, and got our Samoyed Belisarius together, whose relentless enthusiasm (and shedding) has forever changed our lives.


Specialties: AAP Board Certified Pediatrician, Perinatal-Neonatal Medicine

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