When asked about her favorite memories or experiences in her medical career, Dr. Dana Silver, a pediatrician, pointed to how she is able to watch as her patients grow over the years.
“I just love watching children grow up through all those developmental stages,” said Silver, a resident of Towson who occasionally attends High Holiday services at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. “And so that’s what’s so wonderful about being a general pediatrician. I’ve been here now 21 years, and I see patients that were babies when I first started who are now going off to grown-up doctors, and I see the children of former patients. And it’s just really an honor.”
Silver, 56, is the head of the division of general pediatrics at Sinai Hospital.
She is married to her husband Michael Schweitzer and has two sons, Justin and Noah.
Originally raised in Princeton, N.J., Silver’s family moved to Potomac when she was in high school, she said. Her father is a retired child psychologist, while her mother is a speech therapist.
Growing up with an admiration for both her childhood pediatricians and the work her father did, Silver knew from early on she wanted to become a doctor. Any lingering doubts were quelled in high school, when her parents got her a job at a camp affiliated with the Rockville JCC, working with special needs children.
“That really kind of clinched it for me,” Silver said. “I really loved working with kids that had special needs, including autism and developmental disabilities.”
Silver received a B.S. from Cornell University in human development and family studies, then went on to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she experienced many late nights filled with hard work, she recalled. An inclination to work with children led her to specialize in general pediatrics.
Silver met her husband in medical school, and afterward they did their residencies together at a hospital affiliated with Case Western Reserve University. They went on to work in the Richmond, Va., and D.C. areas before finally returning to the Baltimore area, where Silver had long wanted to come back to. She started at Sinai in 2001. She said that the hospital offered her a position where she could both have her own patients while also training residents and medical students, which she felt was perfect for her.
“I love it,” Silver said. “I care for a challenging patient population and really get to understand and work on many social determinants of health, so it’s not just a disease, it’s all the other pieces that can affect a child and a family’s health.”
By what she means by “challenging patient population,” Silver explained that Sinai serves the Park Heights and Pimlico neighborhoods, where the “social determinants of health,” such as poverty and poor housing, can have a very clear impact on a child’s health. Silver was grateful for the support staff at Sinai, which includes a social worker, a community health worker and a school liaison, that she can work with to impact the health of her patients.
“Really having the opportunity to care for families and to help the children be the best that they can be is an honor,” Silver added.