On July 1, Shannon Glenn-Otto joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as an attending physician in the general pediatric clinic. Her long journey had brought her right back to where it started.
“Growing up in St. Petersburg, I always dreamed of becoming a doctor,” she says. “I remember going to see my pediatrician and thinking, this is what I want to do someday. I loved science and the idea of being able to help people. Both traits needed to be a good pediatrician.”
As a student in St. Petersburg High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, she joined the Medical Explorer program at All Children’s Hospital. “I got to visit many areas of the hospital and learn about the different types of patients. I especially remember the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) because of the resilience of the patients and was amazed at what these tiny babies went through and how they came out on the other side.”
By now, she was even more convinced that she wanted to be a pediatrician, and she wanted to work at All Children’s.
After high school, she was off to the University of Miami where she earned a bachelor’s degree and medical degree in the honors program.
Each summer, during medical school, she returned to St. Petersburg and All Children’s where she did research with Parrish Winesett, M.D., in the neurology division. This experience gave her additional insight into the world of pediatrics.
As medical school came to an end in 2018, she went through the national match process for her residency assignment in pediatrics. “I ranked Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as my #1 choice for so many reasons,” she says. “The location was ideal because it’s in my hometown and the hospital has grown so close to my heart over the years.”
She was excited when she got the news that she matched with the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Residency Program. At the end of her three-year residency in 2021, she was chosen to serve as co-chief resident with Sarah Czack, M.D., so she stayed at the hospital an extra year.
As chief resident, she worked as an attending physician in the general pediatric clinic where she mentored new residents and provided instruction, training and supervision. “I spent a half day seeing my patients in the clinic, working as an attending physician in the newborn nursery, and in other units throughout the hospital. I was also involved with educational and administrative responsibilities, coordinating resident schedules, sitting on numerous hospital committees, and working in Graduate Medical Education (GME).”
“It was obvious from the beginning of her residency that Dr. Glenn-Otto was destined to be a pediatrician so she could give back to the community she grew up in,” says Rachel Dawkins, M.D., medical director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Clinic in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Department of Pediatric Medicine. “We are so fortunate that she, like many of the graduates of our pediatric residency program, chose to stay here as they begin their careers.”
One unexpected turn of events during her residency was the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was a second-year resident when COVID hit,” she says. “We took it day by day as things evolved. We switched up our schedules to be where we were needed the most. The clinical environment was changing and we had to adapt to those changes based on the new information that was coming down every day. It was scary at times."
“At first, we were concerned it would impact our training as residents because patient volumes were fluctuating, and we were not seeing the typical medical issues in the clinic that we would normally see. It taught all of us how to adapt to new situations and change. Eventually hospital volumes increased, and we began seeing all types of diagnoses in addition to COVID. We all gained some skills we may not have developed otherwise.”
With the residency program behind her, she looks forward to having more time to spend with her husband, who is a family medicine physician. They are in the process of renovating a house they just bought. When she has time, she enjoys competing in triathlons and was once the youngest female finisher of the U.S. Ironman championship.
“With both of us being doctors, it was tough juggling our schedules during medical school and residency,” she says. “Now we will both be working as attending physicians in an outpatient setting, so our time will be more manageable, and we can come home and have dinner together and do things on the weekends we enjoy.”
“I feel like I have come full circle. It took many years of training to get to this point, but it’s the job I always envisioned for myself and I feel very lucky that my journey will continue here at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.”