Here at Preferred Pediatrics, we find ourselves both joyfully celebrating Dr. Shanker’s well-deserved milestone and bidding a bittersweet farewell to the compassionate and dedicated pediatrician who has touched the lives of so many in our community. Your journey as a pediatrician has been nothing short of inspiring. Through the years, you've become a trusted pillar of support for countless families, guiding them through the ups and downs of parenthood and ensuring the health and happiness of their children.
Q&A Session with Dr. Shanker:
To commemorate your retirement, we've gathered a few questions to better understand your journey and plans for the future.
Q: What was it like starting Preferred Pediatrics in 1980?
After working for an HMO for one year, I knew that I wanted a different type of practice. At that time, Olathe only had one other pediatrician and the community was growing rapidly. My partner and I opened our practice while maintaining a position at the HMO and at the Johnson County Health Department. We did this for a year before we transitioned to a full practice.
Q: What are your plans for retirement?
My wife and I have moved to St. Louis to enjoy spending time with our family. We are looking forward to attending all the activities that our grandchildren participate in. I will also be spending time on my hobbies and exercise; playing racquetball and pickleball.
Q: What will you miss most about being a Pediatrician?
Working as a pediatrician has been very fulfilling on multiple levels. The opportunity to help families with their children’s health is what initially drew me into this specialty. The other aspects of being in pediatrics are the people that I have been able to work with. The pediatricians in our office are both medically and professionally of the highest quality. Our office staff is excellent and very supportive to both the physicians and the patients. The hospitals that we work at have very good nurses and facilities to make our care specific to the patient’s needs. So mostly, I will miss the daily interaction of being with people with whom I share the common goal of providing the best care for their children.
Q: Can you list the roles you had as a pediatrician throughout your career?
I have had many positions at the hospitals we work with, the Kansas American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National AAP. At Olathe Medical Center, I was Chairman of the OB/Pediatric Department for two terms of two years each and a member of the committee for multiple years; a member of the Credentials Committee for four years and Chairman of the Committee for twelve years; Representative to the OMC Board for those two positions during those years. Neonatal Resuscitation Program instructor since its inception in 1987; member of the Neonatal Committee and Pharmacy/Therapeutics Committee multiple times.
At Advent, I was the Pediatric Chairman for two years and on the Hospital Board as the Representative from the department; I served on the Neonatal Committee multiple times.
At Overland Park Regional, I was on the pediatric staff and Credentialing Committee for six years as well as on the Neonatal Committee for multiple years.
At Children’s Mercy Hospital, I worked at the Pediatric Night Clinic, which was the precursor to the Urgent Care Clinic, for at least five years and served on their committee for that project during that time.
I worked with the Kansas AAP teaching an immunization program to educate other practices throughout the state on improving vaccination rates for multiple years. I was the Chairman of the Business Practice Committee giving multiple lectures locally and nationally as well as writing a column for the newsletter and meeting with insurers to help solve problems. I was the State Representative to the AAP for the Business Practice Committee and met with them multiple times at the annual national meetings.
Q: What are the fondest memories of your career?
Some of my fondest memories in my practice were the multiple times when attending a newborn at birth who needed assistance with resuscitation and our team was able to provide the care to improve that child’s future. Helping discover medical diagnoses for patients where our care changed their outcome. I taught many subjects to others in the medical and business community to help improve pediatric care.
Q: What advice do you have for all of your patients?
I think it is important to remember that your actions speak louder than words. Be a positive force in your life and it will reflect on others. Find something that you enjoy doing and help others while keeping a good sense of humor.
Q: What are your hopes and goals for the future of Preferred Pediatrics?
My hopes and goals for the practice are to continue on the course of the last 43-plus years. We have been able to help many families by providing excellent medical care given by talented doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and the use of referring consultants. Doing all of this in a private practice setting has allowed us to individualize care and make certain that our patients come first. I know that I will miss all of the people who have helped me throughout my career and I look forward to a future where I can use some of my experience in a positive manner.
As you close this chapter and step into a well-deserved retirement, please know that your impact goes far beyond the walls of your clinic. The laughter you've shared with children during appointments, the comfort you've provided to worried parents, and the countless lives you've positively influenced are a testament to a career filled with purpose and meaning. Thank you for your service to the community.
With deepest gratitude and warmest wishes:
The Staff, Patients, and Parents of Preferred Pediatrics