Meet the Doctor: Robert Bonner Jr., MD
Robert Bonner Jr., MD, is Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Einstein Healthcare Network. He sees patients at the Einstein Pediatrics office on Old York Road in Philadelphia.
Dr. Bonner is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
We recently spoke with Dr. Bonner about his career, his interests, and pediatrics at Einstein.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: I decided to become a physician at a very young age. Around 10 years old, my mother gave me a How and Why Wonder Book on the human body. I was so fascinated with how our bodies work. This interest grew into the desire to become a physician so I could study how the human body works.
It was later in childhood, during my adolescent years, when I realized that being a physician would give me the opportunity to help people. This combination sealed the deal, and all efforts were directed to becoming a physician.
Q: Tell us about your education background.
A: I attended medical school at the University of Illinois-Chicago Medical School. I completed my internship and residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where I was also chief resident.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty?
A: I chose pediatrics because this specialty allows for achieving the greatest impact to an individual. By caring for children, we can redirect the course their health is taking, and make sure each child is able to reach their potential. I treat conditions and provide treatment for illnesses that can have a long-term impact and make a big difference in a child’s life. There is also a huge impact that can be achieved by preventing illnesses.
Promoting wellness and good healthy routines is a big part of pediatrics and was a big draw for me when choosing a specialty. Also, everyone remembers their pediatrician. Again, an opportunity for positive impact.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: My interest is in general pediatrics, predominantly in the office setting. I have a specific interest in health equity for children. It is very important to me that all children have an opportunity to receive the same high level of medical care.
Many children are unable to stay healthy because of the environment they live in or the inability to obtain excellent medical care. Eliminating these barriers is very important and is a focus for me and our department.
The other important interest for me is the patient experience. In pediatrics, we have the great responsibility of caring for the child, but also educating and coaching the parents. During an office visit, there are many opportunities for the office staff and the physician or nurse practitioner to support and educate the patient and family, and to establish trust with the family. All of this together creates a mutual relationship that benefits the child. Improving and perfecting the experience is an important goal for me.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: Einstein is unique because it is a large medical center that relates very well to the surrounding community. Einstein is invested in helping the community toward achieving good health. This is very important to me and was the big reason why I came to Einstein.
We also have the great opportunity to provide medical care to a very diverse patient population. This opportunity allows for a sharing of cultures that benefits the medical caregivers and the families. Every day is a wonderful learning experience for me at Einstein.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for their pediatric care?
A: The patient comes first when receiving pediatric care at Einstein. All efforts are to make sure the patient’s needs are met, the family’s needs are addressed with resources to help assist, and both the patient and family leave each encounter in pediatrics fully satisfied that they were heard and their questions were answered.
Q: What’s new in pediatrics at Einstein?
A: Pediatrics at Einstein provides comprehensive pediatric care. We offer COVID vaccines starting at 6 months of age up to 21 years of age and COVID testing as needed.
Besides comprehensive pediatric care, we participate in a medical-legal partnership which provides legal assistance for our families.
Einstein Pediatrics has a CenteringParenting® program. It is a new way to provide well-child care to infants and children. It is a group visit model where children are seen for their regularly scheduled well visits. During this time, groups of families and children are together to learn about how to take care of their child and their family. It is an opportunity for families to share with each other how to keep their child healthy.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I enjoy spending quality time with my family. I enjoyed participating in sports when younger and still enjoy watching football, basketball and track and field mainly. I am not picky: if there is a different sporting event on, I will watch it.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: There is an author named James Rollins who writes action adventure novels considered techno-thrillers. These novels combine science, technology, history and create an action adventure story. I try to read each new novel he writes.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: I love sci-fi action movies that come as a series, like Predator, Terminator, and Jurassic Park and World.
Q: What is your favorite sports team?
A: I am a football fan and from Chicago, so the Chicago Bears are my favorite team.
Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: So far, Puerto Rico has been my favorite vacation spot. I have been there three times and have loved each visit.
Q: Is there a person you’d particularly like to meet?
A: I would love to meet Barack Obama. There is so much I could learn from him and would love to trade stories.