Andalusia High School 2011 alumnus joins Enterprise Pediatrics

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

An Andalusia native and graduate of Andalusia High School will be joining Enterprise Pediatric Clinic in August.

Dr. Grace Spears, a 2011 graduate of Andalusia
High School, has joined the staff at Enterprise
Pediatric Clinic. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Dr. Grace Spears was valedictorian for AHS’s Class of 2011. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama, majoring in biology with a minor in psychology. She then attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, graduating in 2019 when she began a three-year pediatrics residency program at UAB and Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Spears said her desire to help people pulled her toward a career in medicine.

“I have always wanted a career where I helped people, and the joy of treating patients coupled with my love of science made medicine a great fit. Pediatrics in particular appealed to me because children are fun and resilient, and I have a unique opportunity to practice preventative medicine and help children grow up healthy,” Spears said.

During her residency, Dr. Spears saw her own panel of patients and completed rotations in the Emergency Department, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, general inpatient medicine, as well as taking care of children in multiple subspecialty units, including hematology/oncology, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal floors.

During her residency, she implemented a program that combined health with education.

“I began a program to help improve children’s literacy at our Primary Care Clinic by partnering with Better Basics in Birmingham to enroll our patients in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Dolly Parton’s program mails a free book to children from birth to age 5 monthly for enrolled patients. Studies show that reading aloud to children, even infants, more than just talking to them, increases their vocabulary, IQ, and educational skills when it is time to start school. A child’s vocabulary at age 3 is the single greatest predictor of their ability to read in third grade. These educational benefits eventually translate to improved health outcomes later in life,” Spears said.

She also encourages parents to speak with their child’s doctor about vaccines.

“I have seen several cases of vaccine-preventable illness during my training and would encourage all families to talk to your pediatrician about the vaccines available to help protect your child,’ she said.

Dr. Spears is looking forward to her new position with Enterprise Pediatrics.

“Enterprise Pediatrics is a fantastic practice that makes it a priority to treat children with evidence-based medicine and quality care,” she said. “They have a subspecialty clinic with pediatric cardiologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, GI doctors, endocrinologists and adolescent medicine which makes referring easier and less travel for patients. It’s also nice to be close to home and back in a smaller community.”

Dr. Spears said growing up in Andalusia played a key role in her decision to become a pediatrician.

“Growing up in Andalusia, a quintessential small Southern town, most definitely shaped my future in medicine. I grew up teaching children’s choir and Vacation Bible School which sparked a love of working with children. Small town values shaped how I treat people and my patients,” she said.

She said those values will help her development trusting relationships with patients throughout her career.

“I hope to be a trusted resource for my patients and their families to help them grow into healthy adults. I want to know my patients and their families on a personal level and cheer them on as they grow,” she said.

Dr. Spears is the daughter of Dale and Laura Spears who reside in Andalusia and own Covington Computers. She has a younger sister, Ashley Spears, who is in her third year as a medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.