Q&A with Dr. Paul Herman of Steeplechase Pediatrics – a 1972 Graduate of Lee High School

Lee HS Yearbook / Steeplechase Pediatrics

Alyssa Vazquez, Editor

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Paul S. Herman, MD, F.A.A.P., is a native Houstonian and a 1972 graduate of Lee High School in Houston ISD. He lives in the Cypress area and has been with Steeplechase Pediatric Center since 1990. Dr. Herman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He has admitting privileges at North Cypress Medical Center and Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center. Dr. Herman is married to Julie, and they have two adult children. In his spare time, he enjoys going to theater, bird watching and spending time with family. We had a chance to speak to him about his career path and his education.

What do you remember most about your time at Lee High School?
I remember many things, like suffering through Algebra, loving English with Mrs. Mabel Scott, enjoying homeroom and football games, and the friends I made. But my strongest memories are of the Choir, being a member of The Southernaires, and the musical shows we did.
While you were there, did you anticipate becoming a pediatrician? If not, what were you focused on in high school?
I had no thoughts about going in to medicine of any kind. I thought some about teaching, some about history. So I was really trying to get a well-rounded education, get the basics in as many things as I could. I wasn’t really focused on anything specific.
Did you participate in any extra-curricular clubs, sports, or activities? If so, what kind of events were you able to participate in?
My extra-curricular focus was on the Choir. We worked hard to be a good Choir. Eleanor Grant (our instructor) wanted us to excel in every show, every concert, every competition, and she asked us to do extra rehearsals. That really made me want to do well. I was not particularly a great singer, but I was good enough to be a part of the chorus, and she made it fun and encouraged each of us to do our best. There were several large musicals during my time there. “Damn Yankees” was a lot of fun, as was an operatic miracle play my senior year, based on the biblical story of Noah. That was the first and only time I’ve ever worn tights on stage.

Lee High School Yearbook
The Southernaires Choir at Lee High School in 1972

What would you say to current high school students who might want to pursue the field of medicine? Which class subjects help you the most as a doctor?
To be a good doctor, you need a well-rounded education, a lot of patience, and good “people skills.” A strong Science background is a must, so taking as much Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as you can in high school is a good idea. But you also need to present information clearly, so English or Public Speaking, or Speech can be helpful. And you need computer skills now (which I did not learn anywhere in school), so any class where you would type a lot would be helpful. Psychology would help with the interpersonal skills a doctor needs. Mostly, anyone going in to the field of medicine needs to know that it takes many years of hard work. But it is so very rewarding, to make a crying child well, or help new parents learn to care for their baby, or the many other ways a doctor can contribute in this world.
Where did you go to college and what are your degrees in?
I took a very indirect route to becoming a doctor, but it was worth it. I started at the University of Virginia and got an undergraduate degree in Economics. I did take all the required science classes in college as a pre-med student, but I did not get in to an American medical school, even after two years of applying. So, I decided to go to Mexico and got my medical degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. I then completed internships and residency in Maryland and Texas. All totaled – after high school – I completed 14 more years of education before I started working on my own as a Pediatrician. But most people can get it done in about 11 years.
How long have you been a pediatrician and what do you enjoy most about the job/career?
I have now been in practice for 31 years, and I love practicing Pediatrics. I get to speak with children and teach them and their parents how to stay healthy and how to be safe. I get to help make sick children feel much better and get well. I watch children grow up. It is not always fun (the paperwork, sad children, and sicknesses I cannot cure), but the rewards are many. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story.

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