Mary Harvey, MD, considers it a privilege and a joy to care for children.
In fact, that’s why she chose to become a pediatrician. “It was just fun -- that’s what swayed me,” she said about her decision to chose the specialty while in medical school. “You have to have an upbeat attitude when you’re working with kids. There is a lot of optimism in pediatrics.”
Dr. Harvey recently joined the medical team at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Charleston Family Practice and looks forward to meeting new people and establishing relationships with families. “I can’t wait to get to know new families and to know the community,” she said.
Dr. Harvey was born and raised in Peoria, where she has gained vast experience working as a pediatrician since 1994. She graduated from Bradley University in Peoria and earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She began residency training in pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where she completed a one-year internship. Dr. Harvey then transferred to the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria for her final three years of pediatric residency training.
Dr. Harvey began her career in Eureka, Illinois, where she provided care to children for two years. During the next 10 years, while her two children were very young, she taught pediatric residents in training at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. “It was so fun to work with residents. They’re upbeat, positive and they’re interested in what they are doing,” she said.
During that time, Dr. Harvey also worked as one of the initial pediatricians with the pediatric after-hours clinic affiliated with OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. However, she missed the one-on-one patient care, so she returned to private practice in Peoria in 2007. “I was able to establish relationships with families again, which was really rewarding,” she said.
Passionate about her profession, Dr. Harvey said her greatest joy is probably being able to follow her patients from baby years to adulthood. “I love watching the kids move through their major milestones like finishing high school, going on to college, making big decisions and accomplishing things,” she said. “I really enjoy working with parents. Possibly one of the best things about pediatrics is that I am working with parents who care about my patient’s (their child’s) health more than they care about their own. It’s a collaborative effort.”
And being a parent herself has been a great asset, she added. “It’s offered me great perspective so I feel a little more experienced from both ends. You have to be realistic. Kids are hard and being a parent is very difficult.”
With her children now both in college, Dr. Harvey is excited to begin caring for children in the Charleston and Mattoon area. She stresses the importance of preventive care and establishing healthy habits starting from a young age.
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Harvey, call 217 345-7700. Her office is located at SBL Charleston Family Practice at 116 W. Buchanan Ave., Charleston.