Mara Richardson grew up an only child in northeastern Tennessee, and spent almost every weekend at her grandmother’s cattle farm in southwestern Virginia. She made some of her best childhood memories there: playing with her cousins, catching frogs and salamanders, gathering fresh eggs from the chicken house, and climbing the hillside to watch the sun set behind the mountains.
Dr. Richardson’s father and grandfather were physicians, and her mother was a nurse, so a passion for medicine was always in her blood. She majored in Biology (with a concentration in Bioethics) at the University of Virginia, then earned her MD at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia. She met her husband in med school, and they both completed their residencies at the University of California San Francisco.
After their residencies, they both wanted to move back east closer to family. “Pittsburgh lured us in,” Dr. Richardson says, “with its lush hills, parks, rivers, friendly people, and affordability.” She and her husband have two children: a toddler son and an infant daughter. Her favorite place to “play” in Pittsburgh is one of the many free outdoor summer concerts in Frick or Mellon Park.
Dr. Richardson is board-certified in Pediatrics and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her medical interests include underserved populations, infectious diseases, preventive medicine, public health, and international health.
In med school, she volunteered and provided primary care to indigent adults and orphaned children in Honduras. During residency, she completed a rotation in Malawi providing primary care and antiretroviral therapy to HIV infected children. She hopes one day to routinely volunteer her time for international health initiatives.
As a child, her favorite toy was the trampoline in her backyard. Dr. Richardson was the first of her friends to get one, so her house quickly became the hot spot for neighborhood play. She and her friends spent hours every day after school playing games (especially dodgeball), practicing gymnastics, and even camping out on the trampoline in nice weather.
Today, her hobbies include playing tennis, growing fruits and vegetables in her straw bale garden, and traveling with her surfer husband to find “the perfect wave.” She also indulges her life-long passion for music — she played the cello growing up — by playing with the Edgewood Symphony, one of the region’s leading community orchestras.
To learn more about Dr. Richardson, check out her installment of Kids Plus Q&A: