Kerri Smith was born and raised in Arizona and is 1 of 7 children. She followed in her father’s footsteps and became a Physician. She did her residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and has been in private practice since 1997 in St. George, Utah. She is a general Pediatrician but specializes in Child Abuse and is on the advisory board for the Children’s Justice Center. She is also the Pediatric Medical Director for Dixie Regional Medical Center. She is actively involved in Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church as a member of the choir, member of the handbell choir, and volunteer for dustmop disciples. She and her daughter recently completed a mission trip to Dorie’s Promise in Guatemala. She also volunteers at her son’s school every other Tuesday on her day off. She has been married almost 25 years to David Smith and her children are 9 and 13.
I was the only person in my family, which included 7 children, to become a Physician. I graduated high school in the top 10 and received the Most Talented Award in my senior class of 150 students. I then went on to college where I got my degree in Zoology/Physiology with a minor in Chemistry. I went to Medical School at Western University of Health Sciences and graduated number 2 in my class. I then did my Pediatric Residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and then was chosen as Chief Resident which was 1 extra year. In 1997, I moved to St. George, Utah where I began a career in private practice. I have always known I wanted to work with children and also wanted to emulate my father’s philosophy about practicing medicine. After starting private practice, I began to see children with special needs as part of my practice which has grown to the point where I have the largest percentage of special needs patients out of my colleagues. I love working with these patients and their families and a lot of them have become more than just patient’s families. One of the most gratifying aspects of my job is establishing the long lasting relationships with my families. I enjoy walking in to an exam room when it’s one of my established families and taking the time to talk to them not only about their child’s problems but also about their personal lives. I feel that’s what makes what I do so rewarding and I can only hope it impacts their lives as much as they and their children impact mine. All I have to do is spend time with my mothers and fathers of special needs children to realize how wonderful they are and how much I gain personally and professionally by taking care of them. They definitely make my life more complete. I also feel it makes me a better mother and wife when I have such a satisfying career. I also was travelling down to Colorado City which was about 45 minutes away to see patients that otherwise wouldn’t have the means to travel to St. George. There is a large number of special needs patients in that community and a lot of the parents aren’t very trusting of outsiders. They seem to welcome me with open arms and have established a long-lasting relationship with me even though I no longer am able to travel out there.
As Pediatric Medical Director I have several responsibilities which are outside my regular office hours. I also see all the children in Washington County for sexual abuse as well as severe physical abuse.
I’m in the office 4 days a week, so on Tuesdays I can devote to volunteering in my son’s classroom and take my children to appointments and extra-curricular activities. My husband’s schedule is flexible so he’s able to be there for our children when I’m not able to. While our daughter is our biologic child, our son is adopted. We adopted him at birth after experiencing 3 years of infertility. He has behavioral problems including ADHD, ODD which require him to be on medication. I feel I can relate much better to my families who struggle with their children’s behavioral problems since I’ve experienced it firsthand.
I’ve always been interested in music as well which started from taking piano lessons at age 7 for 7 years. I continue to play the piano, sing in my church choir, and play handbells in church. I feel very passionate about music which is why both my children are taking piano lessons and my daughter is in choir and handbells also. My husband plays bass in a church band as well.
I’ve always tried to instill good values in my children so whenever there are opportunities to serve others I enlist their help. My daughter and I have just returned recently from a mission to Guatemala Orphanage. My father, who is deceased, taught me a lot about being charitable and serving others. He did multiple medical missions while he was in practice, and I always vowed that I would carry on that mission. I only wished I could have served a medical mission with him but unfortunately he died before we had that opportunity. When I see an opportunity to serve others, I try to participate as much as I can. I volunteer at church, my children’s schools, and the community in whatever capacity I can.