What stands out most about Dr. Justin Wildemann? His quick-witted ability to make people laugh with a great sense of humor and goofy personality. To him, laughter is a great way to connect with families and help ease any nervousness kids — or parents — may have at the doctor’s office.
That’s why our newest pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Mansfield, ensures giggles, fun and big smiles are a part of every treatment. Whether it’s cracking corny jokes — and he’s not afraid to laugh at his own expense — or showing off his signature silly socks, Dr. Wildemann offers up a daily dose of humor to ensure patients leave with a smile on their faces. After all, laugher is the best medicine.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I came to Akron Children’s for residency because I love the patient-centered care and the focus on education. I stayed on because I wanted to continue working with the wonderful staff and providers I’d become accustomed to during my residency training.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish?
I’m a primary care pediatrician, which means I’m the first provider that kids will see for well visits and often times when they’re sick, too. I hope to help educate families on the many aspects of child health and empower them in their health care.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I chose pediatrics because kids are the most fun to work with. It’s very rewarding to watch kids and families grow together, and I get to share those moments with them. Even when they’re sick, kids show so much resilience.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I want to make sure that they have their concerns heard and validated. I want families to feel comfortable coming to me with any concern they may have.
How does your personality fit your role?
I’m a bit of a goofball, and I’m not uncomfortable telling a joke at my own expense. I know a lot of kids can be uncomfortable in healthcare settings, and I want to help ease the tensions of being in a doctor’s office.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
My wife, family and friends are a huge part of my emotional support net. I’m so fortunate to have people in my life to talk to when I’ve had a hard day.
What would you most like to change about health care today?
Equity. Just like there are “food deserts” in low-income areas, so, too, are there “healthcare deserts.” I want to make sure everyone, regardless of who they are, receives excellent care.
What does success mean to you?
Success is giving families a medical home where they feel safe asking questions and have trust in us to help with their medical decision making.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. But as I studied medicine, I realized I like a little bit of everything and decided on general practice.
What’s one thing on your bucket list?
I’d like to see all of the great natural wonders of the world, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and all of the North American National Parks.
Who had the greatest influence on you and why?
My parents. They always bought me any book I wanted as a kid and nurtured my lifelong love of learning. As a family, we weren’t wealthy, but I always had a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table, which is more than so many other people. They taught me to give back when I had more than I needed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself to be patient, ask for help and to give myself a break every now and again. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves that it backfires.
What are the small things that make your day better?
Making people laugh — my patients, their parents, my colleagues, my friends and family. I love making people smile, though my wife’s smile is my personal favorite.