An infant’s bright eyes, a toddler’s sweet smile, a preschooler’s hilarious response or a teen’s plans for the future: These are just a few of Dr. Jennifer Valentic’s favorite moments at work as Akron Children’s newest pediatrician at our Medina location.
Though medicine wasn’t always the path she thought she wanted to take — Santa’s elves or teacher were also on the list — she’s thrilled to be back at the place she credits for pointing her in this direction. Because to her, Akron Children’s is where she feels most at home, helping families learn healthy habits so they can guide their children on a path to lifelong health and happiness.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I didn’t decide to go to medical school until my senior year of college. The summer before, I had a fantastic and career-influencing experience as a Summer Pediatric Research Scholar with Dr. Kerwyn Jones in Akron Children’s Department of Orthopedics. From that time on, I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician and hoped to return home to work at the place where it all started for me.
I loved everything about the environment at Akron Children’s: the positive doctors, nurses, and staff members who genuinely enjoyed their jobs and were truly making a difference. I remember coming home from my first day at Akron Children’s and telling my mom, “I want to be able to do this every day!”
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Somewhere on the coast in either Italy or Croatia, with its beautiful scenery, warm weather, amazing food, close proximity to vineyards and wineries, and plenty of gelato and coffee shops to try.
If you could choose your age forever, what age would it be and why?
I would stay my current age forever, if I could. Medical school and residency are behind me. I’ve started a career I love. I got married this summer. I’m back in Northeast Ohio, surrounded by family and friends. I feel great and can be as active as I’d like (depending on my motivation, of course).
When you curl up on the couch to watch a movie, are you most likely to have a bowl of popcorn, chocolate or box of tissues?
A bowl of popcorn sprinkled with hot sauce. Try it. It’s great.
My Monday–morning must have is ______.
Coffee. Lots of it. Preferably pumpkin spice, vanilla or caramel flavored. A Starbucks Flat White is even better.
Where did you grow up?
Brunswick, Ohio, for my school-age years. We later moved to the Medina area, where I graduated from Highland High School.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
I live with my husband in Lakewood. Our beloved family dog is a chocolate lab named Belle. My parents, brother and sister-in-law live in Medina and my husband’s parents and siblings live in the Cleveland area, as well.
We’re so grateful to be back home with our family and friends.
What did you want to be (profession) when you were little?
I used to say that I wanted to work at the North Pole with Santa and his elves. I also considered a teacher or a vet, but many years later I found my way on the path to becoming a pediatrician.
Have you ever met anyone famous? Who was it and did you get a picture?
Bernie Kosar was a surprise guest at our wedding this summer. His appearance was orchestrated by my amazing in-laws, who knew it would make my Cleveland Browns-loving husband’s day/year/life (in addition to our marriage, of course).
We had Browns’ themed table numbers with pictures and stats from the previous 28 starting quarterbacks since the Browns returned in 1999. We also had orange-and-brown cookies as wedding favors.
What’s your favorite food? Who makes it best?
Ice cream. The Italians … since they make gelato, but I’m also a fan of Haagen-Dazs, Graeter’s and Mitchell’s.