Faculty Feature: Mary Fournier, M.D., M.P.H.

Faculty Features

Mary Fournier, MD, MPH – Adolescent Medicine
Mary was born and raised in south St. Louis city and showed an independent streak early in life when her family walked to Ted Drewes for frozen custard. While everyone else was enjoying concretes, Mary insisted her family buy her ice cream instead at the old Baskin Robbins across the street. Frozen treats are one thing, but that independent streak was real. She ultimately turned it into a passion for traveling the world by herself throughout her teens and twenties starting with a trip to France as an exchange student in high school and has since travelled to 22 countries on 5 continents.

Her path to medicine was much more straight-forward. As a little girl, she wanted to be all the common things – teacher, astronaut, archeologist – but once she hit on doctor, she never found something better. She bounced around the Midwest for her initial training – undergrad in Kansas City at Rockhurst University, back to St. Louis for med school at SLU where she first fell in love with Adolescent Medicine during her Pediatric clerkship, and finally up to Chicago for Pediatric residency at Rush University Medical Center.

Leaving the familiarity of the Midwest, she moved to New England to complete a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. This was an important period in Mary’s life for several reasons. First, she was able to train in the specialty she loves under many amazing teachers, including her fellowship director Jean Emans and her clinical mentor Estherann Grace. Secondly, she had the opportunity to earn her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, which turned out to be a very useful degree in the next stage of her career. And most importantly, she met and married her amazing husband Larry who has patiently supported her and willingly moved with her around the country.

After fellowship, she joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, having romanticized the idea of becoming a “disease detective.” The reality of life as an EIS officer sometimes involves running stats in a cubical more often than tracking down emerging infections. But there were more than enough investigations to keep her busy – histoplasmosis, chlamydia, and enough food-born outbreaks to make her never want to eat in restaurants again. She knocked on doors in Chicago during the initial stages of the H1N1 influenza epidemic and she spent three months in Ethiopia surveilling flaccid paralysis and vaccine programming for the STOP polio program.

After two years as an EIS officer, she was ready to return to clinical academic medicine and accepted a faculty position in Adolescent Medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in 2010. Over the past eight years, she helped to rebuild Lurie’s adolescent clinical practice, developing her particular clinical specialty in adolescent gynecology. She also supervised the Adolescent Medicine residency rotation all eight years and developed and served as director of the new Adolescent Fellowship program.

Despite her love of Chicago, as anyone from St. Louis knows, that pull to come home is hard to resist. So, they sold their beloved home on the North side of Chicago and moved to Kirkwood. Grace (7) and Hannah (5) love their new school and being able to spend time with Grandma and Papa. New York-born Larry still marvels at the friendliness of Midwesterners and the lack of traffic. Mary is thrilled to be back with family and friends and looking forward, if Grandma babysits, to being able to spend more time on her hobbies which include running, reading, knitting, and travel.

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