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Tim Welby, MD, admits to a certain apprehension when he’s asked to describe when and how he knew he wanted to be a doctor. Many of his colleagues have striking stories of a loved one saved by medicine or of a life-changing experience that prompted a vow of service. In Dr. Welby’s case, he said he’s just always known, without the dramatic epiphany. “In a way, it’s made my life simple,” he said. “Even in high school at Scranton Prep, I knew I wanted to be a doctor — a pediatrician. So when my friends were nervous and wondering what to do, which career to choose, I didn’t have that anxiety.”

Dr. Welby’s cheerful demeanor is undoubtedly the result of being so comfortable and confident in his choices. And he feels blessed to have worked with many similarly positive, principled people — particularly his first employers, Denny Dawgert, MD (now a faculty member at Geisinger Commonwealth), and the late Thomas Zukoski, MD. “While I was still a resident at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, they contacted me and said they’d heard great things about me. They took me to dinner one night and asked me to join their practice and I agreed. I worked with them for years without having a contract,” he said, laughing. “But I never worried because I knew they would keep their word. They were just fantastic guys.”

Once the junior member of the team, Dr. Welby is now head of the Dickson City practice, since renamed Pediatrics of NEPA, which has 5 doctors, 2 physician assistants and 10,000 patients. In addition to maintaining a busy practice, Dr. Welby said he’s been a preceptor for Geisinger Commonwealth students “since the beginning.”

“I enjoy teaching and I do it because somebody taught me. It’s my duty to pay it forward,” he said, adding he realizes he can’t “make every student a pediatrician.” Instead, he believes his job is to be a role model for how to treat patients and families. “There’s an art to medicine,” he said. “You have to sometimes coach the patient to do the right thing — and in pediatrics, we have two patients. I want my students to see that every parent wants what’s best for their child and they deserve to be treated respectfully. Each individual patient may be just a tiny part of the student’s day, but to patients, that visit is the most important thing they’ll do that day. When I observe students with families and I see them drawing out a teen who won’t say three words or calm a child who is nervous, I know I played a role in modeling that skill. It’s neat to see and very rewarding.”

Tim Welby, MD
Third-year medical student William Preston (MD Class of 2019) with Tim Welby, MD
From left: Third-year medical student William Preston (MD Class of 2019) with Tim Welby, MD