Interview: Dr. Gretchen Pianka

Posted on September 29, 2022

Interview: Dr. Gretchen Pianka

Q. You were nominated for your work in increasing provider knowledge around ACEs and Resilience and for your work starting Resilience University. In a couple of sentences, can you tell us how this work has shaped your practice/work with patients?

The idea arose from my own experience. Parents consistently were responding to my standard end-of-visit question (is there anything else I can help you with today?) with something along the lines of “only if you have a cure for the terrible twos” or “only if you can make him stop hitting his sister” or “not unless you can cure selective hearing.” I realized the toolbox we leave residency with was too small to help parents with these complex social-emotional issues that are often multigenerational and grounded in SDoH and ACEs. I started working on creating an easy-to-use toolkit based on evidence-based techniques that providers could use to quickly provider useful responses to those common parent stressors that threaten their ability to maintain safe-stable nurturing relationships.

Q. How has the AAP (National or Chapter) helped you grow in your career?

The Maine AAP Chapter has been so supportive. Not only have they helped me by supporting my website and outreach to other providers, but they helped with the CATCH grant to work on barriers to doing this work with teens and provided me with the ability to present on numerous occasions. The collegial environment in our chapter has been one of my favorite things about practicing pediatrics in Maine.

The National AAP has also been incredibly supportive. As part of the ASHEW collaborative, they shared my ideas and resources with other chapters and they invited me to share my approach to food insecurity that I use in Resilience University as part of an ECHO project. I’m excited to be working the National AAP towards writing a book so other pediatricians and primary care providers can offer Resilience University within their practice.

Q. What have you done this summer that was fun/enjoyable? Can you share a photo with us for the newsletter?

This summer has gone by way too fast but living on the coast of Maine makes it easy to go on quick trips to the ocean and we live only a short drive from a beautiful spot called the Giant Stairs in Harpswell. Another favorite trip we do every summer is to take the ferry out to Monhegan Island and stay at the Island Inn. This is a photo from the Inn at sunset.