TCOM graduate starts unique pediatric fellowship

By Steven Bartolotta

Standford Web
 
Nationwide, interest in the study of pediatric nephrology, which focuses on kidney disease in children, is declining. In 2017, 40 percent of the available fellowships in the specialty went unfilled.

That didn’t faze Dr. Kim Piburn, a 2016 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate. She had always had a passion for children, and recently she began a three-year nephrology fellowship with Stanford Pediatrics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

After graduating from TCOM, Piburn started her residency at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. It was there she started to learn about pediatric nephrology.

“I didn’t always want to be a kidney doctor. I went back and forth for a while between a couple other subspecialties during my residency training, but it was hard not to fall in love with nephrology,” said Dr. Piburn, who started her residency at Discoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi after graduating from TCOM. “When you take care of a child, you are giving them back their life, and that just means so much, especially when caring for children with kidney disease.”

At TCOM, Dr. Piburn credits Dr. Paul Bowman, Chairman and Professor of Pediatrics, for support and for encouraging her in volunteer efforts.

“Kim is a wonderful example of the type of physician who transforms lives,” Dr. Bowman said. “I am very proud of her and her accomplishments, and know that she will have a powerful and positive impact on children and families in her fellowship training at Stanford and career as a pediatric nephrologist.”

Standford Web2
 
Dr. Piburn was actively involved in the Reach Out and Read program, where she and other Pediatrics Club students read books and interacted with children in the clinic waiting rooms.  Dr. Piburn was also actively involved in the Happy Healthy Kids program, where she and other Pediatrics Club students would visit local elementary schools to teach fourth- and fifth-graders about healthy lifestyles.

The volunteer mentality has always been in Dr. Piburn, who graduated from Rice University in 2012 and spent many days as a child life volunteer at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

After her fellowship, Dr. Piburn, a native Texan,  says she sees herself working as a transplant nephrologist and as a clinical instructor at a teaching hospital, where she can teach other trainees about the field of pediatric nephrology.

“When I see how much children go through, especially kids who are on dialysis three times per week, I’m always amazed at how resilient they are,” she said. “When a child is sick, they just keep playing and going on with life, and it’s both inspiring and humbling.”

What the field of pediatric nephrology lacks in numbers, Dr. Piburn makes up for in passion.

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