Dr. Peter Reed: Pediatrician, Father, Cyclist, Advocate
It’s not hard to understand why Dr. Reed is such a popular pediatrician. After spending just a few minutes talking to him, it’s clear to see that he’s charming, funny, and extremely knowledgeable. Parents of his patients describe Dr. Peter Reed as “endlessly patient” and “easy to talk to” as well as someone who “really knows his stuff.” One parent said, “Dr. Reed knew just by looking at my son what was wrong.” His peers describe Dr. Reed as “well-informed—on many topics” and “passionate about climate change and social justice issues.”
It’s possible his breadth of interest and expertise stems from Dr. Reed’s somewhat round-about route to pediatrics as a profession. He first studied biochemistry at Carleton College because he enjoyed science. He’d considered research as a possible profession, but after spending some time doing stem cell research in a lab at the University of Minnesota, he decided that the lab was not for him. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry , he moved to Boston where he earned a Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University. Medical School seemed like a natural next step for Dr. Reed, so he applied and was accepted to Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina. He spent his pediatric residency in Vermont, after which he returned to the Pacific Northwest. Having grown up in Eugene, joining a Portland area practice felt like coming home and Pediatric Associates of the Northwest feels fortunate to have him!
Making the most of his time off, Dr. Reed enjoys hiking, cycling, backpacking, and baking. Yes, baking. Sourdough bread is one of his specialties. It’s also one his family appreciates. He and his wife stay busy juggling two careers and keeping their family a top priority.
Somehow Dr. Reed also makes time for his advocacy efforts, which include representing the Children’s Health Alliance, testifying before the Senate Healthcare Committee last spring regarding increasing the age of legal use of tobacco, and working with the Oregon Pediatric Society Advocacy Committee, who are addressing concerns like care for immigrant children and gun control. Dr. Reed also spent a month with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Federal Affairs office in Washington, DC, talking to legislators and staff regarding childhood nutrition issues and meaningful use of electronic medical records. He’d worked with the AAP before as well, in the development of a Family Leave Policy endorsed by the APP. While in Vermont, Dr. Reed testified in the Vermont State House on several bills, revoking the philosophical exemption for vaccines, which passed, and the inclusion of a child car seat bill. Not afraid to exercise his pen as well, Dr. Reed has written numerous letters to the editor, maintains a personal blog, and has published an article about gun violence in the Portland Business Journal.
While advocating for children comes easily to Dr. Reed as a natural extension of being a pediatrician, he’s also an advocate for the environment, and worries about the earth he’s leaving his young children, Josie (4 ½ years) and Sam ( age 2). “Climate change is an important issue having immediate effects now,” Dr. Reed said. “It’s evident in the increased frequency of forest fires, longer and more severe allergy seasons, and changes in how infectious diseases move around. All these things have me concerned about the planet we’re leaving our children. I want them all to have the same experiences I’ve had – to know the earth as I’ve known it.” Trying to do his part, Dr. Reed drives a Prius, bikes when he can, recycles, and discourages the consumption of foods that have a high environmental cost (such as almond milk, which requires a gallon of water per almond used to make it). “The little things you can do day-to-day can add up to a difference.” He also encourages others to get involved in the issues about which they care the most.
To those who feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to get started with advocacy, Dr. Reed says, “Start in your backyard or in your neighborhood, your local school – if there’s a bee in your bonnet about an issue close to home, that’s a good place to begin. Start asking questions, talk to others who have similar interests, and see what can be done to change that little thing.” He adds with a laugh, “It tends to snowball – and before you know it, you’re testifying at the State House.”
To learn more about Dr. Reed, or to schedule an appointment with him, visit portlandpediatric.com or call 503-968-3480.