happy anniversary to us

Today is our one year anniversary. Yes you and me...well some of you and me. I mean, how many of you have been around since the very beginning?

One year ago today I published the first post on this blog. It was short, and tried to be sweet. It was trying to set the stage of where we would go together and how we would get there. I saw a road ahead, but did not see where that road would lead, what the intersections would be, or how many stop lights dead ends and cul de sacs would slow us down. I thought you wouldn't read anything longer than 500 words, so many of my early posts were.....well....... kind of shallow. I apologize for short changing you in the early days.

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Today I have a better idea of that road and its many detours, as well as what the road ahead might look like. I write BECAUSE OF YOU, although many times I write FOR ME. The blog serves as an outlet for the many wanderings of my mind, it serves as a friend and a confidant, and most of all a way for us to get to know each other.

My greatest pleasure comes from seeing comments on the posts from real people (you). From folks I don't know (or didn't know before the blog) who have found a reason compelling enough to spend a few moments of their precious time to leave a comment. Now, don't think that if you and I know each other in real life that I don't want you to comment, or I don't value your opinion. I truly do. It awes me, though, when complete strangers share their views.  I value the perspectives others bring to the site, whether or not they agree with mine. In fact, I LOOK for views different from mine, because that is how I learn. And life is all about learning, isn't it?

What is this blog about?

When we started, I thought I was writing about medicine--about child health and issues that affect children's hospitals. Much of the time that is the case at least in some way. But my readers have helped me to see that I am writing about human nature, leadership, accountability and some of the softer sides of doctoring. After all, you can get the news and information anywhere. But you can't necessarily get inside the mind of someone who lives and breathes those issues and their implications for child health locally, nationally, globally.

I hope we will have many more anniversaries. I hope you will take the time to leave your comments. I hope you find even a small percentage of the stuff I write useful to you--to bring you information, stimulate you to think about topics that are important to us--our children, our medical system, our lives.

Here are some data to show you who you are, and where you are when you read this blog (and no, I cannot tell exactly WHO you are--you are anonymous except in the aggregate).


You spend an average of 1.5 minutes on the site every time you visit, and you view 1.9 pages per visit (obviously some view only one, some view more). Over the year each month approximately one third of the visits are from those of you who had never been here before. You use a variety of web browsers, most commonly explorer, but a lot of you use safari, firefox, chrome and others. Many of you use your iphone or other mobile device.

About two-thirds of you have found your way to the blog through another source such as facebook or twitter or links from other websites; the other third is split between those of you who have bookmarked this site or receive the RSS feed, and those who have come via a search engine. Most of the searches look intentional (used my name or the children's hospital to find your way) but some have found us clearly by accident while searching for something else--I hope, if that describes you, that you were happy to land here and you stayed for a while.

I am humbled and grateful to have become a part of your life. I offer you my sincere thanks for your patience and perseverance as this blog has evolved, and in advance for your fortitude as it will likely go through more evolutionary processes.

My commitments to you going forward

  1. I am going to write more frequently. Aiming for a post every Sunday and another one mid-week, either Wednesday or Thursday. More if the conditions are right, or current events require commentary.
  2. I am going to start featuring guest bloggers approximately once a month--let me know if you have any ideas of who you would like to hear from (or if you want to volunteer to write one).
  3. I will continue to be as open and transparent as possible--feel free to call me out on something if it doesn't seem consistent with this goal.
  4. I will respond to every comment that appears. Maybe not immediately, but I want you to know that I read every single comment, and appreciate the way all comments advance our conversations.

Let me know what you are thinking.

Your thoughts don't need to be profound. You don't need footnotes. You don't need links. Just you, yourself, communicating with me and the community of interested folks who visit every day, or once in a blue moon. All are welcome, appreciated and loved.

Recent Comments

My son told me about your blog and has such respect for you, so I have been following your posts when I can. I really admire what you are doing and appreciate your dedication to your profession and to your patients. I know my grandson would get the best of treatment from you and your staff if he ever needed to be admitted to CC. Even though we have never met I trust you.

Sharon, Thanks so much for the kind words. I have a grandson, too, and my goal is to have a place where I can feel comfortable that ALL of our grandchildren receive the best care possible, close to home.

Even though we did not start off on the right foot, I came to respect your opinion, and appreciate the advocacy you were extending for my child. Over my daughter's several admissions last winter, our frustration at having no answers often bubbled over to you and your staff. As we got to talk over those admissions, it became clearer to me that you were frustrated with the process, as well. I commend both you and Dr. Keys for encouraging my husband and I to continue asking questions and seeking other avenues to serve our child. I found you (and this blog) in seeking out more information about the children's hospital and ways to get involved. I've stayed tuned because I enjoyed getting to know you better. While my daughter's issues were finally resolved, many thanks to the encouragement you gave me to advocate more confidently, I can't offer my thanks enough for the care I see in the pediatric doctors at Carilion RMH. I wish there were a place for my counseling skills there on the peds floor to help both the children and parents through tough times!

Malia, Thanks for caring enough to stick with us AND for sharing your thoughts here. It is frustrating for parents when we physicians don't know the answers to our patient's problems, or even the causes. TV shows like "House" don't help, as there is always an answer in the end. I do think what is important is to have a physician who can help to look at what is going on and work WITH the parents (sometimes by asking the same questions over and over) to try to establish a pattern, determine something way back in family history, or identify a trigger that wasn't previously clear. Doctors who stop asking questions may not be thinking expansively enough. One thing that annoys me terribly is when physicians or other health care providers assume that since a test was negative, or many tests were negative, the patient doesn't have a particular disease, and then they are dismissive of the problems. All it proves is that we did the wrong test(s).

Thank you for giving me a chance. You can't imagine how much it means to me. I am certain we can find many ways to keep you involved as we work to make the children's hospital even better.

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

Close to home links

Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital
Carilion Clinic Pediatric Services
Children’s Miracle Network
Follow me on Twitter
Pediatric Residency Facebook Page
The AAP website for parents
Just the Vax
Moms Who Vax blog
Parents Who Protect
Roanoke Times Medical blog
Running a hospital blog


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