The Children's Institute Blog

National Doctors' Day - Dr. Justin Berthold, DO

Posted: Mar 30, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Dr. Justin Berthold always knew what he wanted to do for a living. At age 11, in a graphic arts class, he even printed up business cards with his name and chosen profession: “sports medicine physician.”

But what you might not know is that, when he was an undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh, his major wasn’t medicine. It was philosophy.

“Philosophy in medicine is everywhere,” he said, sitting near an oversized Superman statue in his Squirrel Hill office at The Children’s Institute. “We talk about medical ethics. And there’s certainly an art of medicine. Studying both has made me a more rounded individual.”

Dr. Berthold – the Senior Medical Director at The Children’s Institute who today we profile in honor of National Doctors’ Day – joined our organization as Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2015, after completing a UPMC residency in that discipline, and opening a private practice in Forest Hills. (The husband and father of three young children grew up and still lives in Forest Hills.) He became senior director in November.

“I now see the entire scope of service we provide clinically,” Dr. Berthold said. “The new position has given me a greater appreciation for the quality and comprehensiveness of the care we provide. The people who work here are really passionate about what they do and they’re passionate about the kids we serve.”

Though he oversees clinical services throughout the organization, Dr. Berthold seems at home in his office, which, Superman aside, features a framed quote from Emerson (“Adopt the pace of nature/Her secret is patience”), a small basketball hoop, and a painting of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.

“He’s on deck,” Dr. Berthold said with a smile. “That might be before his 3,000th hit, who knows?”

And what about the inflatable Godzilla standing near his desk? It’s an homage to Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “Big,” he told me.
“I kind of embrace the inner child – it helps spur creative thought,” he said.

While he continues to see patients at his Forest Hills practice and teach osteopathic manipulation at his alma mater, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), part of Dr. Berthold’s biggest impact at The Children’s Institute might reside in the Pain & Integrative Medicine program he helped develop here. More, however, lies ahead, he likes to say.

“I like the organization. I like the work we do,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And we’re moving up – I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

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