Fitzgibbon Receives Akron Children’s Service Award

AKRON – James Fitzgibbon, M.D., who has dedicated his career to health care for adolescents and teens, is the recipient of Akron Children’s Hospital’s annual Distinguished Service Award for 2020. 

Fitzgibbon, a physician for 40 years with Akron Children’s, served for 36 years as the director of adolescent medicine. The department specializes in preventive care for teens. 

The award is usually announced at a hospital-wide recognition event. This year, because of COVID-19 precautions, Akron Children’s Hospital CEO Grace Wakulchik and Dr. Robert McGregor, chief medical officer, surprised Fitzgibbon during a staff meeting.

“Dr. Fitz, as he is known to many, has dedicated his 40-plus years at Children’s to ensuring that adolescents throughout our region receive the care and services they need,” Wakulchik said. “Under his direction, our core adolescent medicine division has expanded to include such services as adolescent gynecology, a comprehensive eating disorders program and a gender affirming clinic. Recognizing the need to reach teens where they are, he launched several community-based programs and served for many years as a physician for the county’s juvenile detention center.” 

Fitzgibbon’s honor comes as he nears retirement at the end of February. 

He credits the staff in Adolescent Medicine for the department’s success. But he also is grateful for the teens who have found a compassionate medical home there. 

“We always felt we were a safe place for kids to go but now we’re not only a safe place, we also provide excellent care,” Fitzgibbon. “When you get to see kids through their various stages of development and growth, that’s what makes pediatrics really fun. They teach you every day. Those kids have taught me more than anything else I’ve experienced.” 

Fitzgibbon resides in Bath with his wife of 50 years, Nelda. They have three children and six grandchildren.  

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.