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2011 Superheroes for Washington families: Dr. Beth Harvey

Dr. Beth Harvey, pediatricianDr. Beth Harvey, pediatrician

Beth Harvey knew she wanted to be a pediatrician when she was in the third grade — lucky for the children of Washington. Harvey, a native of Olympia, completed her medical education in Kansas City and her residency in Salt Lake City. Then she returned to Washington to join the practice that had cared for her as a child. “I always connected with kids,” she says. “I enjoyed the idea of treating somebody from being a baby to being an adult.”

As president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2009, Harvey faced an imme­diate challenge: The state budget crisis threatened the 15-year practice of providing vaccines for every child in the state.

Working with insurance companies, legislators and others, Harvey helped develop a program, modeled after those in other states, for insurance companies to pool funds to pay for the vaccines. Today, Washington state is one of only six states that provide access to vaccines for every child from newborn to 18 years old.

State Rep. Eileen Cody, who worked with Harvey on the project, describes her as “the little engine that could. She has all the energy in the world and she never gives up.”

Harvey credits the 80 people who worked on the project. “Everyone’s focus was only on the kids — what can we do to protect the kids?  How can we protect them from dying from preventable diseases?” — Elaine Bowers

Get to know Dr. Beth Harvey...

Personal heroes: Cynthia Shurtleff and Laurie Lippold, two of Washington state’s most committed and skilled child advocates.

Pet peeve: Distracted drivers.

Best recent read: The 2010 Best American Short Stories, edited by Richard Russo.

Best way to get kids involved in giving back: We try to shift our son’s focus from material desires to generosity at times when he is the focus (like birthdays and holidays). This leads to conversations about our values and how we can help others. I also encourage my son to go through his things periodically and donate them to my office for kids who don’t have enough.

Up Next: Ron Sher, creator of local retail centers >>

Flip ahead to meet the rest of our 2011 Superheroes:
Rebecca Mallos, Attachment and Trauma Specialists
Mike Heinisch, Kent Youth and Family Services
Karen Bryant, The Seattle Storm

Flip back to see previous 2011 Superheroes:
Karen Kodama, Seattle Public Schools
Estela Ortega and Roberto Maestas, El Centro De La Raza
Shandra Benito, Reach Out
Michael Schindler, Operation Military Family
Sebrena and Rena Mateja Burr, Wellspring Family Services
Dan Savage, It Gets Better Project
2011 Superheroes: Home

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