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New endowed chair to bring better pediatric care to Phoenix

May 13, 2024
3 min Read
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A new endowed chair in the Creighton University School of Medicine will expand the partnership between the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) and Creighton, providing better, more affordable healthcare to a greater number of children and families in the Valley.
 
In 2021, Piper Trust invested $10 million in a collaboration between SVdP and Creighton. This added staff and services to the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Medical Clinic while offering Creighton medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant students the chance to learn alongside providers caring for the clinic’s uninsured, underserved patients.
 
Piper Trust now continues its investment in the partnership with the Piper Chair in Pediatric Medicine, a position created to meet a pressing need at the Piper Clinic: greater care for a growing number of young patients.
 
“In just a few short years, Creighton University and St. Vincent de Paul have shown us what’s possible; their strategic collaboration is both improving health outcomes in and growing medical professionals for our communities,” said Steve Zabilski, president and CEO of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
 
“Piper Trust is so pleased with our investment in this invaluable partnership, which will now provide greater care to some of the most vulnerable pediatric patients in Maricopa County.”
 
Prior to Creighton’s partnership, the clinic’s pediatric population was about 6%. Since then, it has nearly doubled. To address this, the Piper Clinic has launched a new pediatrics department, led by co-directors Creighton assistant professor Pam Murphy, MD, and associate professor Sara Beste, MD’09.
 
“There is such a great need in the community for pediatric care, especially with so many uninsured families in Phoenix,” said Beste, recently named the inaugural Piper Endowed Chair in Pediatric Medicine.
 
Beste and Murphy are now spreading the word about the clinic and connecting with families through schools, hospitals and other organizations.

There is such a great need in the community for pediatric care, especially with so many uninsured families in Phoenix.
— Sara Beste, MD’09

“Often, if these children don’t have a personal care provider or insurance, it’s easy for them to fall through the cracks,” Beste said. “We want to do everything we can to prevent that from happening and to let the families know that they have a place they can go.”
 
Beste and Murphy have been seeing families at the Piper Clinic for the past two years, offering pediatric services two days a week. They now plan to increase the number of days the clinic treats children by recruiting more community pediatricians, both for primary and specialty care.
 
The gift from Piper Trust also made it possible for pediatric OB-GYN physician and clinical assistant professor Amy Williamson, MD, to join the team, further enabling Creighton and SVdP to deliver the level of comprehensive care the clinic’s patients need.
 
Other services provided include routine vaccinations for children; pediatric occupational therapy for developmentally delayed children; a pediatric gastroenterologist; and referral access to an agency that will see Spanish-speaking and uninsured patients whose children are suffering from anxiety, depression and/or PTSD.
 
The clinic’s pediatric department partners with Creighton’s Ambulatory Clinical Education (ACE) program, in which first- and second-year students — 240 total every year — learn from and work with the clinic’s providers.
 
Beste said that in many cases, a pediatric appointment takes 15 minutes or less in Phoenix. At the Piper Clinic, where uninsured patients seek free care, the appointments last three times that, giving both the learning and the care a much longer runway.
 
That extra time allows the students to be more thorough and thoughtful, to focus on birth history, growth and development, to look at the social determinants of health beyond biological conditions and to offer culturally appropriate care via interpreters.
 
“When no one feels rushed,” Murphy said, “when we have the opportunity to really sit with our patients and learn who they are as people, we can provide the best possible care and the best possible teaching.”
 


More about the chairholder and pediatric division

Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair in Pediatric Medicine and Pediatric Co-director
Sara Beste, MD'09, MPH, is a dedicated pediatrician with a strong background in global health and humanitarian work. Her efforts have taken her to Malawi, Liberia, Mozambique, Switzerland and other countries, where she has worked to combat diseases and enhance healthcare infrastructure.
 
Alongside her husband, Creighton alumnus Jason Beste, BS’03, MD’08, she spent a decade working with marginalized communities in places ranging from the South Bronx to sub-Saharan Africa. Beste earned her bachelor's degrees in chemistry and theology from Boston College in 2005, followed by her Doctor of Medicine from Creighton University. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016 with a master's degree in public health.
 
Pediatric care has always been at the heart of her work. From her early days as a Pediatric House Officer at Montefiore Hospital in New York to her tenure as a pediatrician with Partners in Health in Malawi, Beste has made a tangible difference in the lives of countless children.
 
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Pediatric Co-Director
Pamela Murphy, MD, FAAP, earned her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine before completing her pediatric residency at the combined program at Phoenix Children's Hospital and Valleywise Health Medical Center (Maricopa Medical Center). She has experience in pediatric primary care, pediatric emergency medicine, adolescent health and spina bifida. She is an accomplished pediatrician with a distinguished record of mentoring and teaching, underpinned by a commitment to excellence in both clinical care and medical education.
 
Pediatric OB-GYN
Amy Williamson, MD, FACOG, graduated from Bryn Mawr College and completed her medical education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. She then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology [lowercase] at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, now known as Banner University Medical Center. Throughout her career, Williamson has made significant contributions to her field and positively impacted the lives of her patients and students.  
 
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul
At the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul, a team of healthcare professionals, Creighton University faculty, staff and students serve more than 2,000 patients through nearly 10,000 visits each year. With 33 specialties available for free or at a significantly reduced cost, the clinic is providing an essential service to Maricopa County’s most vulnerable populations.
 
Piper Trust made an additional investment in the clinic in 2022, establishing Creighton faculty-physician John Anwar, MD, as the inaugural Virginia G. Piper Chair of Medicine and the clinic’s chief medical officer. Anwar said the partnership continues to benefit everyone involved, including the many future patients the students will go on to serve throughout their long careers.

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