The New Mexico Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is dedicated to
the principle of a meaningful and healthy life for every child.
As an organization of physicians and allied health professionals who care for infants, children and adolescents, the New Mexico Chapter seeks to promote this goal by encouraging and assisting its members in their efforts to meet the overall health needs of children and youth by providing support and counsel to others concerned with the well being of children, their growth and development; and by serving as an advocate for children and their families within the community at large.
The New Mexico Pediatric Society was founded on December 20, 1945. Its first order of business was petitioning the state Legislature for workable laws for the licensing and control of all child-caring institutions in the state. Thus began a close working relationship with lawmakers on issues affecting the children of New Mexico. From those early years, the NMPS has focused on issues of pediatric healthcare delivery in New Mexico, continuing education activities for its members, and disseminating information to physicians and the public. Fellowship with other healthcare professionals has been an additional benefit. The eight founding members of the NMPS were: Drs. Adier, Fishback, Hotopp, Lathrop, Service, Trombley, Werner, and Wylder.
Stuart Adier was born in Yonkers, NY in 1892. He attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA and received his M.D. from Harvard, in 1919. After an internship and pediatric residency at Boston City Hospital and a pediatric fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, he came to work for the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque in 1933. Dr. Adier became the first board-certified pediatrician in the state in 1936. As a consequence of this, he attracted patients from all over New Mexico. In 1941, Dr. Adier became a public health officer in Santa Fe. In this role, he learned that Bernalillo County was the least safe place in the US to have a baby, with an infant mortality rate of 130 per 1000 births versus a national average of 20 per 1000. He instituted a training program for midwives, which by 1948 had lowered the mortality rate dramatically to 69 per 1000 births. Dr. Adier returned to private practice in Albuquerque in 1944. Over the years Dr. Adier received numerous awards, including Man of the Year from the NM Chamber of Commerce in 1951, Physician of the Year from the NM Medical Society in 1956, and the A.H. Robins Community Service Award in 1964. He retired in 1964 and died in 1987, having survived 31 years after a pulmonary malignancy had been accidently detected and subsequently removed.
Charles Fishback was born in Terre Haute, IN in 1907. He attended the University of Illinois and received his M.D. from Northwestern University. Dr. Fishback interned in Ann Arbor, did general practice in Wisconsin, and then undertook a three-year pediatric fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He joined the Lovelace Clinic in 1941 to replace Dr. Adier, practicing there until retirement in 1972.
Dr. Fishback became interested in dancing while a teenager and actually was a professional dance instructor during college and medical school. He and his wife, Katherine, founded the Fishback School of Dance in Albuquerque and, forever after, he was known as “the dancing doctor.” He died in 1990.
Marion Hotopp was born in New Jersey in 1900. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received her M.D. from Cornell in 1934. She interned at the Medical Center of Jersey City and did residencies at three different hospitals. Dr. Hotopp then earned a Masters of Public Health from Harvard and accepted the directorship of the Maternal and Child Health Division of the NM Health Department. Except for 9 months in private practice assisting Dr. Service in Roswell, Dr. Hotopp worked for the Health Department until her retirement in 1967.The achievements of Dr. Hotopp are legend. She was instrumental in improving the mortality rate of infants in rural New Mexico, especially among the Navajos, by emphasizing the health and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding. After retirement she became a medical missionary in Central America. Dr. Hotopp never married and she passed away in 1976.
The information on Albert Lathrop is rather sparse. He was born in 1894 and received his M.D. from Columbia in 1920. In the 1920s his medical practice was limited to treating tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Connecticut. Dr. Lathrop was licensed to practice medicine in New Mexico in 1931 and practiced pediatrics in Santa Fe until the early 1970′s. He served as president of the NM Medical Society in 1953-1954.
Allen Service was born in Firton, NJ, in 1907. He attended Penn State University and received his M.D. from Hahnemann in 1933. In 1939, he pursued a pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He was board-certified in pediatrics in 1942 and became an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Service joined the Lovelace Clinic in 1945 as head of their pediatric department. In 1949, he moved to Roswell, practicing pediatrics there until 1969 when he left private practice to go to American Samoa. There he helped establish programs to address some of the problems causing their high infant mortality rate. After four years, Dr. Service returned to Capitan, NM, retiring in 1979. He died in 1991.
Robert Trombley was born in Minnesota in 1901. He received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota and interned in Duluth. His pediatric training was obtained at the University of Chicago and the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. He was licensed in New Mexico in 1939 at which time he too joined the Lovelace Clinic. Shortly thereafter Dr. Trombley served in WWII as a Captain in the US Navy. When he returned to Albuquerque, he entered private practice and remained an active pediatrician until his retirement in 1974. Dr. Trombley died in 1977.
Ly Werner was born Frida-Wally Brandenburg in Berlin, Germany, in 1893. She obtained her M.D. from the University of Erlanger, Bavaria, Germany, in 1920, and did her pediatric training at the Kaiser & Kaiserin Frederick Kinder Krankenhaus in Berlin until 1922. The records are unclear as to when she came to the US or when she married Dr. Walter Werner. She did postgraduate work at the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee and was licensed in New Mexico in 1934. Dr. Werner was board certified in Pediatrics but was also a Fellow in the American College of Allergists. She was the first secretary/treasurer of the New Mexico Pediatric Society. Dr. Werner retired in 1967 and died in 1973.
Meldrum Wylder was born in Illinois in 1877. He was the son of a pioneer Methodist minister. He attended Marion College in Indiana and received his M.D. in 1901 from Washington University Medical School. He interned in St. Louis and practiced there for a year. He contracted TB and, as a result moved to Albuquerque by way of El Paso in 1903. Dr. Wylder had studied under some pediatric specialists at both St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital and was accepted into the newly formed American Academy of Pediatrics in 1930. Over the years, Dr. Wylder delivered and cared for more than 15,000 babies. He was instrumental in the formation of the NM Department of Public Health and introduced legislation to require immunization against diphtheria in order to be enrolled in public school. Dr. Wylder was the catalyst for the New Mexico Pediatric Society, and served as its first president. He authored many scientific medical papers and wrote a most enlightening and entertaining book, Rio Grande Medicine Man. The Society’s annual spring meeting is named after Dr. Wylder, who died in 1964.
It is difficult in this short history to mention all the physicians who contributed to better the healthcare of New Mexican children as members of the New Mexico Pediatric Society. A few names from the earlier years come to mind:
Dr. Catherine Armstrong, who was the first pediatrician in Carlsbad in 1950, and one of only two women physicians in the entire southern half of the state;
Dr. Frank Nordstrom, the first pediatrician in Farmington, who overcame prejudice against his youth and his specialty;
Dr. Carol Smith of Santa Fe, who contracted paralytic polio while a pediatrician, but continued her practice from a wheelchair;
Dr. Alice Cushing, a native New Mexican, who trained at the old BCMC and went on to become a professor and expert in infectious disease, and chairman of the UNM Pediatric Department;
Dr. Evelyn Basile Gay, the first pediatrician in Las Cruces in 1951;
Dr. Robert Tully, who contributed his time and resources to furthering the education of aspiring physicians at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine; and
Dr. Valerie McNown, who pioneered pediatrics from Española north to the Colorado border.
By Matthew Tandysh, MD