Frances C. Gross, D.O.

Frances C. Gross, D.O., chairs the Department of Pediatrics at Lancaster General Hospital. We asked Dr. Gross about the challenges and rewards of her job – and her new puppy.
 
What is your background?
I grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey. My father was a physician, and my mother was a nurse. As the oldest daughter in a family with six children, I played a caretaking role early. I also gravitated to summer camp counselor and other jobs involving children. I met my husband at Albright College and attended New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Maine. I interned at Community Hospital of Lancaster and completed residency in Harrisburg. I joined Roseville Pediatrics in 1990. I stopped seeing office patients in 2011, but I still do inpatient newborn care at Women & Babies Hospital on Thursdays.
 
How did you get into a leadership role?
My leadership experience started as a kid, when I was in charge of my siblings. I also enjoyed being chief resident. At Roseville, the managing physician, Dr. Steve Tifft, engaged me in everything from HR issues to establishing protocols. Those types of tasks have always interested me. I like to do projects to improve quality, and to start new initiatives and watch them grow. I became Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics in 2011 and Department Chair in January 2018.
 
What are your responsibilities as chair?
My primary role is to oversee care delivery in the pediatric inpatient, newborn nursery and neonatal intensive care units. I work with administrative and physician leaders to identify areas to improve care quality, offer new types of care and establish new protocols and pathways. I go to a lot of meetings!
I’m also working on the fundraising campaign for LGH’s new pediatric inpatient unit. It’s a lot of work for a lot of people, and very time-consuming, but also a lot of fun. I can’t wait to cut the ribbon in 2019. 
 
What are some of the department’s current challenges?
We have a great, close-knit department, with about 65 providers. I’m really honored and love leading this department. My No. 1 challenge is promoting change to improve quality. You have to be very prepared and well-researched to present to your colleagues why they need to change a care pathway that’s been in place for 30 years.
 
What has changed since you started practicing?
When I joined Roseville, I was the sixth pediatrician. We grew steadily since then -- to 14 providers – joined LG Health and opened a second office at Kissel Hill. I had a special interest in caring for children with asthma and allergies, and have both of these conditions myself. Our approach to managing food allergies changed dramatically during my career. We used to recommend avoiding foods with a high potential for allergy. Now we encourage early introduction of those foods. It’s been really interesting to see how that field has changed.
 
What have you been surprised to learn in your leadership role?
Working closely with nursing has given me a tremendous appreciation for the engagement of our nurses and the quality of our nursing care. I don’t think a physician can appreciate all that goes into making this hospital tick. It takes a lot of teamwork and expertise. That really was a game-changer for me to learn.
 
What do you like most about your job?
Pediatrics is at a very special time right now. Through our partnership with CHOP, we are bringing new specialty services to our community. With that partnership and our new pediatric inpatient unit, we are taking pediatrics in Lancaster County to the next level. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
 
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
We just got a new puppy, a Labrador retriever named Charlie. I play tennis. I love to hike. And I love to spend time with family, including our grown son and daughter, who live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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