Support Dr. Julia Revell St. Petery’s legacy to children’s access to healthcare

Pam Irwin | Your turn

“The world belongs to those who see things that others cannot and who will take risks that others will not take to make the lives of others better.” Quint Studer

On September 30, 2021, Tallahassee lost a risk taker to others. dr. Julia St. Petery, a beloved pediatrician in Tallahassee, known to her patients as “Dr. Judy,” died. She left a legacy of caring for Florida’s children that will impact children for generations.

Born in Dothan, Alabama on October 29, 1943, she was adopted by her parents, Elizabeth and Alton Revell of Tallahassee. Passionate advocacy for adoptees and foster children and improving access to medical care for poor children define her life.

In 2008, the Capital Medical Society presented the IB Harrison, MD Humanitarian Award to Dr. Julia St. Petery and her husband Dr. Louis St. Petery jointly. The award is presented annually to a physician who demonstrates commitment to the humanitarian values ​​associated with the late Dr. I.B. Harrison. Those values ​​include service, wisdom, integrity, respect and compassion for patients.

One of St. Peterys’ colleagues, Carol McCormick, RN, said: “The St. Peterys is always about the children. Nothing they do is for personal gain, money or recognition. All they want is a better life and better health care for our children.”

That vision prompted the St. Peterys to spend more than 25 years trying to get Florida Medicaid to do the right thing. In 2005, they sued Florida Medicaid for failing to fulfill its responsibilities under Title XIX of the Social Security Act to ensure that Medicaid children have equal access to health care and dental care. She succeeded.

“Dr. Judy” attended Leon High School, Florida State University and the University of Florida Medical School. Her medical career began in Gainesville, where she graduated from the University of Florida and completed her internship and residency at Shands Teaching Hospital. She then became an instructor of pediatrics in family medicine at the University of Florida.

After two years of teaching, she became director of the Children’s Medical Services Program office, the agency for needy children with special care needs. She practiced pediatrics for over 40 years. In 1984, with the help of other pediatricians in Tallahassee, the couple founded the Tallahassee Pediatric Foundation (TPF).

The Tallahassee Pediatric Foundation gives children the same benefits as privately insured children. They are also assigned a nurse case coordinator to assist them in answering their questions and providing information. Most local pediatricians participate in TPF. It allows doctors to focus on the medical care of children and not the administrative burden of the Medicaid system. Children deserve medical care whether or not their parents can afford it.

On October 4, 2021, in recognition of her life’s work for children, an anonymous donor established The Julia Revell St. Petery, MD Scholarship in Pediatrics Endowment at the Capital Medical Society Foundation, Inc.

The grant provides scholarships to be awarded to fourth-year medical students at Florida State University College of Medicine who plan to practice pediatrics upon completion of their residency programs.

Generations of children and will benefit from the advocacy and compassionate healthcare of “Dr. Judy.”

Thankful parents, patients and colleagues can donate her grant by making a donation to the Capital Medical Society Foundation, 1204 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308, or by making a donation online at https://capmed.org/donate/.

Pam Irwin is executive director of the Capital Medical Society and the Capital Medical Society Foundation.

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