On Sept. 13 Dr. Pappas will join the staff as a pediatrician at Mt. Airy Pediatrics.
As a teenager growing up in Bala Cynwyd, Dr. John Pappas, 30, enjoyed working as a lifeguard at the Philadelphia Country Club in Gladwyne, Pa. He was just 16 years old when he saved a child from drowning in the pool.
He recalled watching a toddler play in the baby pool. “The baby boy was being very adventurous running in and out of the pool,” he said. “I noticed he kept slipping.”
He said the child was laughing and giggling; the child would fall and then immediately get up. “Then one time, he just ran in and fell forward, and his whole face went under.” Within seconds he realized the child was not getting up. Pappas immediately pulled the baby boy out of the pool.
“There were so many emotions associated with that moment,” he said. “It was scary. When I saved him, it was exciting. It was so rewarding and fulfilling.” It was then that Pappas decided he wanted to be a doctor.
On Sept. 13 Dr. Pappas, a graduate of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton, will begin working as a pediatrician at Mt. Airy Pediatrics.
Dr. Herbert Cady founded the practice in Mt. Airy more than 30 years ago. Dr. Marcie Macolino, owner of the practice since 2014, said they have been searching for the “right person” to join their team of providers since Cady’s retirement in 2016. “There have been many challenges along the way, and Dr. Pappas feels like a timely gift to our practice, our patients, and our community,” Macolino said. “His special interests and skills as a Certified Lactation Counselor will make him a great ally to new breastfeeding moms and their little ones.
“Along with our recent move this past October to our new office at 6673 Germantown Ave, in the old St. Michael’s Lutheran Church social hall, we feel that John’s addition to our already stellar team of pediatric medical providers positions us well for growing in the years to come. We are delighted to welcome him in September when his office hours will begin.”
Pappas’ journey to become a doctor began as a student at Villanova University, where he double-majored in philosophy and comprehensive science. He graduated magna cum laude and was a medallion recipient for academic excellence in comprehensive science.
“I chose pediatrics because children are the absolute best,” Pappas said. “Children are incredibly resilient and positive, even when they are not feeling well. I believe in preventive medicine from day one. Breastfeeding is an excellent way to protect your child from infections and chronic conditions. Vaccinations are also a perfect way to prevent illnesses. St. Christopher’s Hospital provided me with amazing training, and I learned so much.
“I try to use a soothing voice, I think it’s important that we have a warm, friendly and inviting atmosphere in the office. The doctor’s office can be a really scary place for a kid. So having a welcoming atmosphere will help the kids feel excited to see the doctor.”
When asked to talk about a challenging time in medical school, Pappas recalled working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). When he was a second-year resident, he took care of a six-month-old baby with meningitis. “The baby was not doing well at all,” he said. “I was up for a 24-hour shift and sat by the baby’s bedside all day and night. The mother was by her bedside, too. It was a really tough experience. It’s the last thing you want to see or be a part of. When I came back the next day, I found out the baby had passed away. My heart broke for the mother.
In addition to being a pediatrician, Pappas is a certified lactation consultant. “As a male, I don’t think many people expect it. Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby. As a male, I can speak to other fathers and say, ‘It’s important for you to encourage her.’”
Pappas is about to be a father himself. He and his wife, Nicole, are expecting their first child in October.