Growing up, Dr. Julia Young witnessed firsthand the juggling act her father, Dr. Paul H. Young, a well-known neurosurgeon, performed as both a doctor and a parent. It showed her how balance could be found. “He was always so busy, but he found time to do the normal ‘dad things,’ too,” she says. “He’s a great example of how you can have both a professional and very healthy personal life.”
Today, as a pediatrician with a successful private practice and a happy home life with a husband and three young children, Young has found that balance, as well. With a family history of doctors (including her grandfather, Dr. Paul A. Young, and brother, Dr. Jason Young), and a passion for taking care of children, pediatric medicine was a logical career path for the 37-year-old. She received her medical degree from Saint Louis University in 1999 and after completing chief residency at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, the Affton native and Cor Jesu Academy alum entered private practice. “I enjoy being able to watch kids grow, and in private practice, I’m able to do that,” she says. “I’ll start seeing a child as a newborn and get to follow them all the way through college.”
Young opened her own practice, Docs 4 Kidz, in 2006 with one other pediatrician, Dr. Gene LaBarge, purposely keeping the office and staff small in order to provide personal and attentive care. “From a parent’s perspective, you want your pediatrician to be somebody who knows your child and is there for you whenever you need them, and that’s what I try to do,” Young says.
With a bright office filled with artwork and chalkboards for kids to draw on, Young has created an inviting place for children to receive medical care. Her biggest challenge is finding enough hours in the day for her patients. And with almost 3,000 patients split between two doctors, that is a demanding task, but one that Young is willing to take on, especially when families need extra consideration. “We do have a number of chronically ill children that we’ll see,” she says. “It’s difficult, but I think parents of an ill child appreciate honesty and compassion. You sit, talk to them and let them express their fears and concerns.” And in those cases when the unexpected happy result occurs and a child gets better, Young and her staff find a simple reward.
Young’s passion for children also has led her around the world. During her fourth year of medical school, she traveled to Kenya with her father to perform volunteer work. Helping out at an inner city hospital, she found it hard to witness the needs of the sick children there. “It was a life-changing experience. There were more sick children than people or supplies to take care of them,” Young remembers. “They had to pick and choose who was sick enough to receive the antibiotics or bag of IV fluids.”
While Young hopes to return to East Africa in the years to come, for now, she focuses her efforts in the local community, volunteering and giving back to various charities. Children’s cancer charities are particularly important to her, and Young has helped raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation through the years, shaving her head twice for the cause.
And when Young’s children get older, she hopes they will join her in her community service. Married to Timothy Knox, Young’s three children (Grace, 8; Lauren, 6; and Samuel, 3) keep her busy as she juggles her time to attend every basketball game or dance recital. “It takes some practice, and a degree of planning, but I make sure not to miss the big things that are important. My family has been around medicine enough to know that there are demands—I can’t be a room mom, but I can make your Saturday afternoon soccer game.”
As she continues to balance her personal life and grow in her professional one, Young can once again look to her father as inspiration. “He shows me that you never stop learning. You should always be expanding the possibilities of your specialty and keep pushing yourself, every day.”