April 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: Married Couples: Medicine: Cook Health Net: Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Marriage: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Marriage, Married Couples : March 21, 2005: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: Married Couples: Gainesville Daily Registe: Dr. Tsion Elaine Haileselassie's story began when her mother followed her dream of serving in the Peace Corps overseas. According to Haileselassie, it was at her assigned station in Ethiopia that her mother met a "dashingly handsome, yet short statured young man" whom she would later marry : April 6, 2005: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: Married Couples: Medicine: Cook Health Net: Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature

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Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature

Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature

Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature

NTMC Welcomes New Pediatrician

Caption: Pediatrician Tsion Haileselassie, M.D., left, is one of the newest additions to the medical staff at North Texas Medical Center. She specializes in the care of children, birth to 18 years. She is pictured with son, William, 2, and husband, Diby Male

A solid sense of community. An outgoing personality. A desire to positively influence young people at different stages in their lives.

These are qualities that most parents would like to see in their child’s physician.

Pair those with an outstanding academic background, superior medical training and unbridled enthusiasm to provide top quality pediatric healthcare, and you have a snapshot of one of North Texas’ newest additions to the medical community.

For Doctor Tsion Haileselassie, life has been a ladder of learning experiences, each rung forged by different figures over time – a father who died before her birth, an uncle with a contagious sense of humor and her own pediatrician years ago.

“She made me feel like she was really interested in what I was doing and was involved in how I was maturing. She watched me grow up,” says Haileselassie of her childhood physician. “I thought that it would be a neat opportunity for a person to have that they could influence a young person in the different stages of life – to do something good, to do something positive.”

Tsion Elaine Haileselassie, M.D., opened her practice in Gainesville in late January and since then, it has been full speed ahead for the gifted physician.

Doctor Haileselassie, or “Doctor H”, was born in the “little college town” of Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas.

“Take away the college and you have a small town,” she laughs, stating that of the 60,000 plus population at the time she lived there, 40,000 of it was directly tied to the university.

She spent 10 memorable years in Lawrence with her mother, grandmother, an aunt and uncles, enjoying life as a regular kid in the Midwest, complete with daily chores, a big backyard and a dog. She credits her childhood in Lawrence for the strong sense of community she possesses today.

“It was a great childhood,” she says.

But Doctor Haileselassie’s story actually began years earlier, when her mother followed her dream of serving in the Peace Corps overseas. According to Doctor H, it was at her assigned station in Ethiopia that her mother met a “dashingly handsome, yet short statured, young man” whom she would later marry.

Doctor H’s father, an artist by trade and native Ethiopian, was killed in a tragic accident prior to her birth. Her mother left Ethiopia and returned to her family in Kansas, allowing Tsion her average American childhood, with, of course, the exception of her rather lengthy Ethiopian name.

“She decided she should put in one American name so she gave me her middle name, which is Elaine,” Doctor H said of her mother. “She practiced with me how to spell my name and by first grade, I could spell “Tsion Haileselassie” without a hitch. We didn’t practice “Elaine” because it was American and how obvious and easy could that be? And, of course, “Elaine” ended up being the only part I couldn’t spell!”

At age 10, Tsion and her mother moved to an apartment in a busy downtown area of St. Louis, Missouri, which wasn’t exactly conducive to the sense of community she had developed while in Lawrence. To make up for this, Tsion threw herself into school, extracurricular and volunteer activities, in which she excelled. She also developed an enduring love of science.

Tsion attended Harvard University, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1987 to 1991. During her time at Harvard, she was very active in community, arts and volunteer activities and was awarded the John Harvard Scholarship and the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Certificate of Merit.

She nurtured her interest in science, specifically biology, by serving as a laboratory assistant in the entomology lab from 1987 to 1989. Although she found research interesting, it soon became evident that life in the lab was not for her. Volunteer projects in the community, working with kids, stirred her soul and ignited her passion. She wanted to become a doctor. She wanted to be a pediatrician.

“I figured it would be a great combination between biology and service,” Tsion said. “Biology – service. Biology, service and people. Service – people – kids. Pediatrics.”

Tsion noted that her career choice was also pleasing to her mom, who had been putting the idea forth to her daughter for years. Tsion had countered with everything from veterinarian to rock and roll dancer, but admitted that the final choice of physician was probably very appealing to the Peace Corps side of her mother’s nature.

With a bachelor’s degree in biology in hand, she applied and was accepted to Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York. The move to New York was a little daunting for the Kansas native, but she made it, earning her medical doctorate in October 1997.

Medical school rotations confirmed pediatrics as Tsion’s specialty of choice. “Pediatrics was the only rotation that I could go to during medical school that - whether I did everything right or I got yelled at for doing something wrong - no matter what, at the end of the day I was always happy,” she stated.

During her time at Columbia, she worked in research positions in child and adult psychiatry, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology, feeding her thirst for scientific mystery.

“When I was in medical school, I still had that touch of science stuff, but now, instead of it being lab science, I wanted to do clinical research,” Tsion explained.

A summer as a clinical investigator in the Department of Pediatrics rekindled an old interest for the soon-to-be doc – community service and public health.

After completing medical school, the newly anointed Doctor Haileselassie took time to do some coursework in public health, giving her valuable insight into the healthcare system and the importance of the social structure in medicine.

“You can prescribe the best medications, but if the family does not have the support structures in place to purchase the medicine, administer the medicine…it won’t work,” Haileselassie said. She emphasized the importance of getting to know the patient and their family – their obstacles, their needs. “The doctor is just a peg in the wheel,” she says. “There are many factors at work that affect a child’s health.”

Haileselassie performed her residency at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital and Winthrop University Hospital in New York from July 1999 to June 2002, completing her medical specialty training.

In 2000, she married Diby Male, a graphic artist, and in 2002, the couple was blessed with their first child, William.

Having a child of her own allowed the new pediatrician to form some real life, firsthand opinions about caring for children.

“When I had my son, it added a whole new aspect to it (being a pediatrician),” the doctor says. “It adds a whole new spin. I can empathize as a mother.”

After 10 years in New York, Doctor H was ready for a return to the tight-knit community atmosphere she had grown up with in Lawrence. She began looking for a place to practice with that criterion foremost in her mind.

After working with various physician recruiters and speaking to friends, an opportunity arose in Brownsville, Texas, that called to her sense of public service. She would be working at a clinic that was heavily involved in providing healthcare to the special population inherent to the border town. She was excited about making an impact.

The family loved the warm climate and the relaxed lifestyle Texas offered, however the location in South Texas did not ultimately meet their needs. Gainesville seemed to be the answer to their prayers, providing a setting that was only an hour away from a major city, providing more opportunity for her husband, and putting Doctor H’s home state of Kansas within driving distance.

Doctor H liked the small town feel and friendly nature of the town and its people. She was also struck by the vision the community showed by supporting construction of a new hospital.

Doctor Haileselassie, Diby and William have started their own version of the perfect small-town life in Cooke County, complete with a lovely home, a big backyard and a dog, Rasta, which means “King” in Ethiopian
Diby enjoys soccer and martial arts. Doctor H enjoys anything connected to the arts, including painting, theatre and dance. She also enjoys cultural activities, foreign foods and languages.

Doctor H says that her goal is an evolving one - to find out what the community needs and provide those needs.

“I wanted to come to a community where I could make a difference.”

As a physician, she hopes to afford families access to information, including preventive care, in addition to providing treatment of acute and chronic illnesses.

“I want to serve as a resource, to empower patients and their families with health information,” says Doctor H. “I want to be their partner in caring for their children.”

Doctor H is also excited about bringing her intensive pediatric skills to the area. “There are so many illnesses that are specific to children, and can be easily overlooked,” she stated. “Early detection and diagnosis is important and I think I can bring skills that will be critical to that.”

Doctor H is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Texas Pediatric Society.

Gainesville Pediatrics is located in the North Texas Medical Center Medical Office Building, 1902 Hospital Boulevard, Suite F. For more information on Doctor Haileselassie, call the office at 940-665-9915.

When this story was posted in April 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Cook Health Net

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ethiopia; Married Couples; Medicine



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