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Dayle Griffin, M.D., Winner of St. Clair Hospital's 2011 Physician Recognition Award
By Lisa Bianco

Dr. Dayle GriffinDayle Griffin, M.D., Medical Director of St. Clair Hospital's Pediatric Unit, and Director of the Pediatric Hospitalist program was this April, honored by St. Clair Hospital with its Physician Recognition Award.

Seventeen years ago Dr. Griffin came to St. Clair as the hospital's first Pediatric Hospitalist. She explains her role, "Hospitalists provide care to patients in the hospital which gives the patients' primary care physicians more time to care for patients in their respective offices. We remain in contact with the patients' doctors to maintain continuity of care with their primary care physicians. St. Clair Hospital provides 24 hour, in-hospital pediatric coverage." Dr. Griffin and the hospitalists attend high-risk deliveries, conduct pediatric consults in the ER, care for patients on the Pediatric Unit and address the needs of pediatric patients hospital-wide. She stresses that not many other regional hospitals have a Pediatric Hospitalist program, citing this as evidence of St. Clair's commitment to providing high level care. "Lots of hospitals are closing pediatric units because pediatric patients don't generate the amount of revenue that a cardiac patient does, but our Hospital maintains its commitment to providing care to the entire community."

After being raised in St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dr. Griffin came to the U.S. to attend Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Her studies took her to medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. – a city whose endless cultural offerings and historical sites she found invigorating. But she was drawn back to Pennsylvania.

"The warmth of the people in Western Pennsylvania is unmatched and I missed that," she remembers. Dr. Griffin did her residency at Mercy Hospital and today feels very lucky that the majority of her career has been at St. Clair Hospital with what she recognizes as a tremendously supportive staff. Her work at St. Clair has led to what Dr. Griffin considers the most valuable lesson of her career. "Medicine is teamwork! It's important to have a team approach because no one can accomplish excellent health care by themselves. Nurses, administrators, laboratory technicians – all of these people are vital! I've had the opportunity to work with wonderful nurses, colleagues and primary care physicians and I see them as team members."

One of Dr. Griffin's many accomplishments is championing a program to have all newborns' hearing screened, years before it was mandated by law. "When hearing loss is recognized and treated before an infant is six months old, it can lead to a dramatic improvement in language and cognitive development. Previously hearing loss often wasn't discovered until the child was one to two years old, when critical development of speech and social behaviors had already been compromised." Upon explaining to the St. Clair Hospital Foundation the potentially huge positive impact hearing screening could have on infants in the community, the Foundation was immediately behind it. That kind of wonderful support is what Dr. Griffin loves about St. Clair Hospital.

Participating in medical missions to Haiti is something else Dr. Griffin has become well known for in the Pittsburgh area, and she can count on the help of the staff at St. Clair Hospital. "The hospital has poured heart and soul into supporting my missions to Haiti, with contributions from everyone from the nurses and doctors to the housekeeping staff." But she credits Dr. Daniel Lattanzi, a local obstetrician who works with a group called Friends of Haiti, for first inviting her to travel to the small Haitian village of La Croix. "Dr. Lattanzi is an extremely selfless man who's been vital in making the programs in Haiti work. He built a medical clinic and maternity center with money from his own pocket. After the recent earthquake in Haiti, La Croix's outbreaks of cholera were kept to a minimum because our school programs taught hygiene and prevention to the school children, who then took the information back to their families. I feel extremely honored to work alongside Dr. Lattanzi."

What's Dr. Griffin's advice for those who want to pursue a medical career? "Medicine is a wonderful profession, but it takes lots of time, hard work and dedication. However, the rewards of making a family happy because you've helped improve the health of a loved one is a gift that gives immeasurable satisfaction back to you. But do it because you love it – that helps you deal with the hard days. Loving the work makes you better at it and it makes you a better person."

When asked if she has children, Dr. Griffin mentions her fiancé and her busy schedule. She laughs, "When people ask me if I have children, I always tell them that I have hundreds!"

For more information about Dr. Griffin, contact Robert Crytzer in the Public Relations department at Robert.Crytzer@stclair.org, or visit www.stclair.org

More on Dr. Griffin:

Education: M.D. from Howard University, pediatric residency Mercy Hospital, B.S. Biology at Seton Hill College

Board Certification: American Board of Pediatrics

Area of Specialization: Pediatrics

Biggest challenge of her career: "Becoming a doctor is itself a big challenge in terms of the long years of study."

Person she most admires: Her parents: "When my parents were in their sixties and close to retirement, both of them returned to school to earn doctoral degrees. They'd always had that dream." And, Dr. Daniel Lattanzi, who first invited her to travel to Haiti on medical missions.

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