Norma Jean Hirsch

Honored by:Suzanne Kelly
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Norma Jean Hirsch, M.D. Norma Jean Hirsch was born on August 2, 1944 and raised on a small animal and crop farm in Northeast Iowa. She graduated valedictorian of her class from Charles City Community High School in 1962. In 1966, she graduated with a B.S. Degree in zoology from Iowa State University. In 1970, she received her M. D. from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Hirsch's postgraduate education was in pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Children's Medical Center) in Dallas, Texas; pediatric nephrology at the University of Indiana (Riley Children's Hospital) in Indianapolis, Indiana and neonatal-perinatal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (Texas Children's Hospital) in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Hirsch is board certified in Pediatrics and sub-board certified in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine by the American Board of Pediatrics. Her academic appointments have included the following positions:

-- Teaching Fellow -- Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana (1973-74)

-- Teaching Fellow -- Division of Neonatology Baylor College of Medicine Houston Texas (1975-77)

-- Assistant Professor of Pediatrics -- University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Department of Pediatrics) Dallas, Texas (1974-75)

-- Clinical Assistant Professor -- University of Iowa (College of Medicine) Iowa City Iowa (1979 to present)

In 1979 Dr. Hirsch returned to Iowa and established a medical practice in neonatal-perinatal medicine. From 1979-94 she served as president and senior partner of Newborn Care Consultants, P. C., a committed group of health care professionals. Her professional activities have included the following areas:

--Envisioned and empowered family- centered and relationship-based medical services for critically ill infants and their families.

--Participated actively in the continuing education of health care providers in large referral area.

--Provided physical leadership for Blank Children's Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa.

--Served actively in the role of teacher/mentor for nurses, nursing students, paramedical residents, and family practice residents for over fifteen years.

--Provided extensive education and consultation to members of the paramedical, legal, and paralegal education and media professions.

--Committed extensive time and expertise to serve on government and private commissions, boards, and consortiums empowered to enhance patient care for infants and their families. (Dr. Hirsch served on the Maternal Child Health Advisory Council for the Iowa Department of Health, 1989-90, 1990-93; Governor's Task Force on Maternity Care, 1990; and Governor’s Commission on the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, 1988.)

Dr. Hirsch has previously been recognized for her service to medicine and to the greater community. In 1991 she received the Governor's Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service to the State of Iowa. In 1983 and 1993 she received the Teacher of the Year Award for Blank Children's Hospital. In 1983 Dr. Hirsch received the Des Moines YWCA Women of Achievement Award.

Currently, Dr. Hirsch is concerned about promoting the healing and wholeness in patients and health care professionals by providing a thoughtful understanding of the integral relationship between the health of the individual and the health of the greater community. She believes this can be accomplished by creatively maximizing individual, family, corporate, and community resources in support of healthier individuals and communities. Dr. Hirsch fosters relationship-based health care delivery systems. She believes in empowering meaningful approaches to clinical and organizational ethics.

With respect and admiration, I nominate Dr. Norma Jean Hirsch to be included in the Plaza of Heroines. As her undergraduate roommate at Iowa State University, I admired her curiosity for learning and her perseverance in pursuing her goals. As an adult I have continued to admire her through the years. She is known for her self-less dedication for the health care of infants. She is respected for her ideas. Throughout her personal and professional life, Norma has served as an outstanding role-model for others. Her high ideals, community service, superior work ethics and unselfish dedication in the field of medicine have contributed not only to life, but a better quality of life, to numerous individuals. Hundreds of families can attest to the fact that they have a child who lived because of Dr. Hirsch’s expertise. When we think of the future accomplishments of these individuals we begin to see the multiplied value of her service. How fortunate we are that she has touched our lives—and enriched them!

With friendship and admiration,

Suzanne Zobrist Kelly