George E. M. Adkins Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics
The George E. M. Adkins Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics was established in 1991 to enhance the UW School of Medicine’s ability to attract and retain distinguished faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. The professorship was created by Dorris M. Adkins and her son and daughter-in-law, Douglas D. Adkins and Susan G. H. Adkins, in memory of Dr. George Adkins.
George Ernest Milne Adkins was born in Seattle in 1918, received his primary education in the Seattle Public School system and entered the pre-medicine program of the University of Washington in 1936 with a determination to become a children’s doctor. He entered medical school at the University of Oregon in 1940 (the UW School of Medicine had not yet been founded). Upon graduation in 1944, he married Dorris Laity.
Dr. Adkins completed his internship at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and went on to a residency at Seattle Children’s. After a tour in the Navy, he took a pediatric residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He began his private practice in 1949 in the north end of Seattle, where he maintained several independent offices until his death in 1987.
In addition to his private practice, Dr. Adkins served as a clinical professor of pediatrics at UW Medicine for three decades. His teaching centered on senior medical students, primarily at Seattle Children’s. He also served as the pediatrician for the Washington State Cerebral Palsy Center from its inception through its closure, and was an active member of the Seattle Pediatric Society.
Dr. Adkins’ approach to medicine was both technical and intuitive. He avidly sought new information and procedural data, but he never allowed his instincts to be overruled by medical fads. He was driven by an absolute dedication to his youthful patients and to their needs and the needs of their parents in caring for them. His approach combined compassion, love, strength of character, seriousness when needed, courage, fairness, and, above all, joy in administering medicine.
Dr. Adkins was grounded in the science of medicine and believed in the art of pediatrics. He worked hard to give unhurried and complete attention to his patients. While listening carefully, he always showed respect for children and their rights as individuals and led their parents to do the same by example. Dr. Adkins often did this with a wonderful, sometimes crazy and self-deprecating sense of humor. He was “Uncle George” to children and parents alike — their friend and confidant. Dr. Adkins cared nothing for pretense or ostentation; his cars and boats attested to that. Sailing in his beloved San Juan Islands restored his soul and renewed his spirit. He meant to retire there, but never could quite give up his practice.
The objective of the George E. M. Adkins Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics is to support the work of a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics whose teaching and clinical research allows him or her to emphasize practical and loving patient care and the general welfare of children. The recipient will combine a high standard of scientific excellence and intuitive, humane administration of medicine with a love and respect for children. He or she may pursue those avenues considered most needed by the Department of Pediatrics, but since Dr. Adkins established a reputation not only as an outstanding clinician, but one with a wonderful sense of humor, the professor will be expected to incorporate humor in his or her teaching. This will be made manifest in the telling of at least three (3) funny stories during the course of each year’s appointment. If the response to these is not rousing, he or she will try three more.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please make a gift.