Dr. Holly Belgum Shows Compassion Through Writing and Medicine

Holly Belgum, MD

When third-year pediatric resident Holly Belgum, MD, went to college, she wasn’t entirely sure what career she wanted to pursue. 

“I thought I might be a writer,” she said. “But along the way, I met some really amazing people who led me down the medicine track. And I thought, maybe I can do both: medicine and writing.”

When Dr. Belgum started to look at medical schools, she knew the University of Minnesota was where she wanted to be. Not only did she go to medical school at the University, but she also stayed for her residency.

“We're so lucky to live here, in a state that values community, public education, getting outside and healthcare. And the people I get to work with–nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, front desk and cleaning staff and more–are so kind, gifted, and incredibly driven to do their best for patients and their families,” she said.

Learning Best Practices in Pediatrics

Dr. Belgum is in the final year of her residency with the University and loves the variety that the program has offered.

“As residents, we cover all of the children's hospitals in the Twin Cities, working in the general wards, specialist teams and the emergency departments,” she said. “Our job is really to get training in every area, so that we can be well-rounded doctors whether we go into primary care or become pediatric specialists.”

After she graduates this June, Dr. Belgum will be starting work at Metropolitan Pediatrics in Edina as a general pediatrician, taking care of kids in the community.

Teaching Children During COVID-19 

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in Minnesota, Dr. Belgum began thinking about the effects it was having on families and on children.

“One of my friends has a seven-year-old daughter. They know that I’m a pediatrician, and I told them if they ever have any medical questions or anything at all, they can always call me. Her daughter called me crying and was asking questions about the virus. She was scared and sad,” she said. “That’s really what inspired me to do something.”

So, Dr. Belgum went to one of her favorite local shops’ websites and bought a few stuffed animals—piggies and bunnies—to send to the kids in her life.

“After buying the stuffed animals, I thought, ‘I could do more.’ And so I ended up writing this little poem about Piggy and Bunny to go with the stuffed animals. And all of a sudden, it turned into me drawing pictures to go with—and the Piggy & Bunny book was born,” she said.

Dr. Belgum believes that part of being a pediatrician is to be a teacher, sharing the best information available with kids and their families to make a good plan.

“What I always tell my kids in the clinic is, ‘It's my job to make sure that you are healthy and happy and growing up strong.’ And, that's what I want to do every day,” Dr. Belgum said. “Piggy & Bunny is just a little something extra, a way to say, ‘We're going to get through this. It's going to be okay.’”

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