Dr. Sylvia Washington, 37, is planning her next mission.
The Floyd Medical Center pediatrician took her first trip to Ghana to assist Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu about five years ago. Now she’s a committed supporter.
“It was life-changing,” she said. “Malaria, malnutrition ... practicing medicine overseas, you see a lot of things we don’t see here.”
Washington was named FMC’s Physician of the Year in January – a big step in a few short years.
Originally from New Jersey, Washington did her residency in Macon and came to Rome about six years ago with her husband, Marcus. He’s a Marietta-born math teacher at Rome Middle School and the couple has three children at Garden Lakes Elementary: Christian, 10, Daniel, 8, and Stephanie,6.
They’re active in their church, the Church at Northside in Armuchee, and she and her husband co-coach their daughter’s soccer team. And they run.
“My husband and I are both active runners; we do a lot of 5Ks,” Washington said.
It was her participation in the 5K Tumor Trooper Run that led to another life-changing event.
Founded by Charlie Henderson after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009, the annual event raises money for the Pediatric Brain Cancer Foundation serving families with kids in treatment. Henderson died in 2016 and his parents were struggling to maintain the momentum.
Washington picked up the banner and now chairs the committee formed to keep it going.
“We’re doing this for the patient we got into the race to support and for every other family who needs help,” she said.
On top of her busy practice and active home life, Washington also writes papers and speaks to pediatricians – especially young ones – about her approach to patient care. It’s an empathetic relationship built on a foundation of family, faith and community.
In June, she’ll be a featured speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics Georgia Chapter’s 2019 conference in Florida. Her topic is part of her many missions: Tips On Achieving Work Life Balance.
“I’ll talk about healthy ways to be active in communities and help their patients,” Washington said. “Things like family comes before career, eating good food, exercising ... Practicing what we preach.”