Child development observers have concluded the most crucial milestones in a child’s life occur by the age of 7. As a matter of fact, the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”
Whether age 7 is the cutoff age is debatable, but there’s no question how important early childhood influences are in the development of character. This is just one of the reasons that the selection of a good pediatrician is extremely important.
Washington University Pediatrician Dr. Anna Huger knows what it takes, and has spent a great deal of her life helping create a safe and happy environment for hundreds of St. Louis children.
“The combination of caring and fixing has always been a part of me. When I was little, I loved taking care of my stuffed animals as if they were my patients. Then when I grew up, I started volunteering at the hospital and realized that finding something that combines both of your loves is very special,” says Anna.
After graduating from Villa Duchesne, Anna began her career at Georgetown University, later attending medical school at the University of Missouri before completing her pediatric residency at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. “Cardinal Glennon is such a wonderful and caring place to learn both the art and science of pediatrics. Being in residency in St. Louis was wonderful, as I had the daily support of my friends and family. It was truly a true blessing,” she recalls.
After 20 years in practice at Mercy, she joined Washington University Physicians and realized her long-standing dream of designing a pediatric practice from the ground up. Her new office is in the state-of-the-art Children’s Specialty Care Center in West County, ironically overlooking her former grade school.
“I've always wanted to practice in a place that was nurturing, while also being forward-thinking in its approach to medicine. Washington University has certainly created that environment within this building. I feel extremely fortunate to be one of the doctors here,” says the physician.
Anna says she is now able to make referrals to a range of the best pediatric specialists in the country, all located right in the same building. “I thought: wow, other than being in a true hospital, there really are no other places like this,” she says.
The Specialty Clinic, located at US Highway 40 and Mason, is designed to be open and welcoming. The designers even brought the popular train from downtown Children’s Hospital to the Specialty Clinic.
“When you walk into Purely Pediatrics, you’ll be welcomed with fresh flowers, vibrant colors, beautiful music and my favorite children’s books,” says Anna. “I really want it to feel like you’re coming into my home, and not a doctor's office.”
If possible, Anna's medical approach is even more inviting than the building she works in. She brings warmth, understanding and years of expertise to each and every family. Those qualities, along with her reputation for taking her time during each visit, earned her a Five Star of Excellence Award, scoring her in the top 10% nationally for patient satisfaction.
“In pediatrics, you get to watch and be a part of the blossoming of an individual. You get to be an honorary member of the family,” she says.
This pediatrician says she loves seeing her college-age patients return and hearing about all of the amazing things they're doing as they explore their dreams. And many of her grown-up former patients now bring in their own children to see her. She calls them her grand-patients.
“I'm so amazed every time I look at them. They’re coming back with their own children, and they are marvelous parents. It's just one of the best parts of what I do,” says Anna.
It also helps that this doctor is a mother of twins herself, giving her a deep understanding of the demands of raising twins. “Those tears of a new mother when feedings are difficult, or the passing of each bittersweet milestone as we watch our sweet lambs grow up, I know these feelings well,” she confides.
Anna currently resides in Webster Groves with her husband, Paul, and their twin boys, Edward and George. When not working, she says she loves spending time with her family and two puppies. They also spend weekends at the family farm in St. Albans, Missouri, whenever they can. But during the week, Dr. Anna can be found doing the work she loves.
“I try to run this as an old-fashioned office. If you need to see me, I will always find a space for you. I encourage my patients to call me between visits should any questions arise. My entire purpose is to take the purest, most thoughtful approach to taking care of our most precious people,” says this thoughtful pediatrician.