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Barbara J. Pettitt, MD, FACS, FAAP

Barbara PettittName:

Barbara J. Pettitt, MD, FACS, FAAP


Undergrad Institution; Degree and Major:

Central College (Pella, Iowa) - BA in Chemistry

Medical Degree:

Northwestern University School of Medicine

Where and for how many years did you train AFTER medical school?

5 years- General Surgery at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center
2 years -Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

In practice since:             



Pediatric Surgery, Surgical Critical Care

How did you choose your Specialty?

I like surgery and I like kids.

What do you like MOST, and like LEAST, about your specialty?

Most: Getting to operate on all different ages of kids and the fact that kids heal so fast.  Plus you get to watch cartoons on Saturday morning rounds! 

Least:  This specialty is now so competitive that people feel they have to do a couple of years of research before even applying.

In your opinion, what attributes are important in anyone choosing this specialty?        

You have to like surgery and kids…and parents too.


My kids, photography, collecting mother and child sculptures, singing (I studied voice for a year at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts and have sung for many years with the DeKalb Choral Guild).

Note: As the Director of Medical Student Education for the Department of Surgery, I counsel students of many disciplinary stripes who are thinking of going into surgery or a surgery specialty, and I direct the Applicant Prep Program for students applying for surgery residencies.  I’m happy to talk to anyone who’s interested in any field of surgery or just trying to decide if surgery is for them.