Milton Pediatrics and John C. “Jack” Robinson have been together since 1967 when Dr. Robinson opened a solo practice on Adams Street in Milton’s Lower Mills. At the same time Dr. Robinson joined Dr. Robert N. Ganz in practice at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston during Dr. Ganz’s 40th year of practice.
Following Dr. Ganz’s retirement in 1983, both practices merged to become what is now called Milton Pediatrics. The current Boston office is now located at 10 Hawthorne Place, adjacent to Massachusetts General Hospital.
“It was simpler in those days,” says the native New Yorker and graduate of Princeton University and Tufts University Medical School. “I had a secretary, and we had one examination room.” The practice—not yet dubbed “Milton Pediatrics”—grew quickly: Dr. Rudy Toch, an Army colonel, had taken over the practice of Dr. Kenneth Sands, who had died suddenly. When Dr. Toch wanted to go to Vietnam, Dr. Robinson was left with both doctors’ patients. When a Dr. “Jack” Connolly left for Chicago, the patient list again grew, and Dr. Robinson was joined briefly by two associates.
By 1973, Dr. Robinson needed a partner, which he found in Dr. Allen Lapey. The two practiced in tandem until 1983 when Dr. Lapey returned to research and his specialty, pulmonary disease, at Mass General Hospital in Boston.
In 1976, Dr. Robinson moved around the block to an office on High Street, which afforded the luxury of two examination rooms. In 1978, Dr. Lawrence Cohan joined the practice, where he remains today. Dr. Mark Vonnegut, who left several years ago to open his own office, also joined forces. In 1985, the doctors noticed that female patients stopped coming for their check-ups as they approached puberty; and responded by hiring Dr. Rebecca Niloff.
Shortly before Dr. Niloff’s arrival, the practice relocated to the renovated Gridley Bryant School Building on Willard Street in Quincy, and briefly became Gridley-Bryant Pediatrics.
It was upon returning from a vacation that his colleagues informed Dr. Robinson that the practice had a new name: Milton Pediatrics. “They always did things without me while I was on vacation,” Dr. Robinson quips.
While the practice has grown and health care has grown into a complicated endeavor, Dr. Robinson affirms values that he learned early in his profession: “We take time with people in the office. Patients spend most of their time talking directly to a doctor. We see fewer patients in a day—but that’s our style.”
The style has won loyalty from families and associates, but also from nurses and support staff. Cathy Mahoney has managed the Quincy office since 1973; Marlene O’Donnell has managed the Boston Office since 1974. Other long time staff members include Sue Garrity since 1978, Anna Lapsley since 1981, Karen Flaherty since 1986, Sally Hanson since 1990, Annette Deagle and Terry Rivers since 1993 and Ann Marie Horrigan since 1994. Frequently the children of staff members have filled in as office assistants to allow regular staff members time for vacation. The cleaning staff are friends and relatives of staff members as well.
”We have a wonderful cast of characters,” Dr. Robinson says.
Dr. Robinson notes that at first private practice disappointed him; his residency had presented crisis after crisis. Now, he had so many well children that he didn’t feel needed. A month into practice, when a month-old child was brought into the office in a state of shock and Dr. Robinson for the first—but not the last—time served as surrogate ambulance driver, he remembered that even well children in strong communities suffer serious and life-threatening illness. He’s been needed ever since.
Throughout the years, more physicians have joined the practice, which by now had taken up residence on Willard Street in Quincy. (The practice kept the name, despite the geographic change.) Lisa Wong came in 1986; Carol Allfather in 1990; Pauline Pappas in 1994; David Armsby in 1997; Heidi Shaff in 2003; Ana Markovic in 2003; and Jessica McGovern in 2005. Dr. Allfather retired, Dr. Armsby returned to his native West Coast in the fall of 2005, and Dr. Markovic moved to Washington DC in the fall of 2006. With the arrival of Dr. Ben Willwerth in December 2005 and Dr. Jin in 2006, the number of physicians returned to nine. In February of 2006, the Quincy office relocated to the Blue Hills Medical Center at 340 Wood Road in Braintree. In August of 2007, Dr. Scott Paul joined Milton Pediatrics, and in August of 2009, we were joined by Dr. Jonathan Brenner. In July, 2010, Dr. Cara O’Reilly joined the practice. In June of 2011, Dr. Brenner moved to Wisconsin. In July, 2011, Milton Pediatrics welcomed Dr. Laura McCullough. In January, 2012 Dr. Mary Beth Gordon came on board. In September, 2012 Dr. Brenner rejoined Milton Pediatrics after being in Wisconsin for a year. In December, 2013 Dr. Lindsey Burghardt joined the practice.
Dr. Robinson retired from active practice in November of 2011 and continued to mentor residents from time to time in 2012, but is now fully retired. “Taking care of the children and grandchildren of patients has been extremely rewarding. The loyalty of the staff and the great quality of our physicians have made this practice a pleasure.”