ABOUT DR POPEDr. Pope
is honored by his
peers for 'excellence'
...Photo of Isaac Pope, MD
"This award means a lot to me," Dr. Pope
says from his
busy office at the nonprofit clinic, Pope's Kids
Place in Centralia.Named as the recipient of the 2005 Physician Excellence Award by his peers at Providence Centralia Hospital means something special to Isaac Pope, M.D.He
explained that over the course of 26 years of service in Lewis County
has received many awards.But this one, coming as it did from the peers he
has worked with over the years, had the most meaning.Born in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Pope was one of five children, and the one "in the middle," he said with a smile.He
has two brothers and two sisters.His
parents were a hard-working couple, neither of whom had more than a ninth grade education: but they had dreams for their children."They just pushed us," he
father worked in a cement plant, Pope's mother was a dreamer as well as a hard worker.A fantastic cook who was always coming up with new and inventive ways to earn money, she
started a catering service and Pope
own love of cooking.
Along the way of raising their own family of five children, the Popes grew by an additional five children who lost their parents in a set of tragic accidents (the father was killed in a coal mine accident and the mother in a car accident).
Despite raising ten children, the Pope family always managed to make ends meet.His
parents' determination and "pushing" paid off as several of the children went on to attend college--including their middle son, who became a pediatrician.
It was while pursuing his
career as a pediatrician that Pope
wife of 38 years, Jo, headed for Lewis County
in 1979; despite the warnings of several friends who said they might encounter prejudice in the rural community.The Popes found themselves more than welcome and, after a hard two years of getting his fledgling practice off the ground, Dr. Pope became a successful and popular pediatrician.Dr. Pope
and Jo are the proud parents of twin boys and a daughter: David and Stephen, 34, and Theresa, 30.None of the three followed their father into the medical profession."They said I work too hard," Pope laughs.
deep love of children, there was something that always bothered Dr. Pope
practice--the very sick children, the ones with special needs, and the struggles their dedicated and exhausted parents faced daily.Dr. Pope
wanted to whatever he
could to help.
"One thing I noticed was the disintegration of the families.There was no break, 24/7," he
said.Dr. Pope, working with the nurses at the Lewis County Health Department, took an innovative first step to helping the families.
"We started a Board of Review.We would have everybody in the room involved with the child, the caregivers and the parents, and would come up with a plan."The concept, which the rest of the country began doing years later and called "case management," proved a great success.2007 photo of Dr Pope visiting with patient
About the time he
was wishing he
could do more for the families of very sick children, Pope
was diagnosed with cancer, a very 'frightening" experience for him.After time spent in the hospital, he
realized that if he
wanted to help the children he
would have to give up his
busy practice and devote himself to the project.After talking with Jo, the pair decided to sell his
practice and devote themselves to his
Place was born, but not without the generosity of the community and the many other volunteers who make it happen, Dr. Pope
The mission of Pope's
is to provide comprehensive health and social services with a focus on children with special needs.Children with special needs, as well as children who are financially disadvantaged, are helped at Pope's
.No one gets turned away.If children come when they are sick, or needing help with dental or medical or social programs, we help them.Pope's
relies on public support for these children whom others in the medical field consider, "write-offs."
Funding needs to support the programs at Pope's Kids
Place are enormous.The Popes note that the tremendous generosity the community has shown through the years has been invaluable.Dr. Pope
has a vision to have a larger medical clinic and more space for dental.They are growing outside their walls with their patient load and Dr. Pope
is not that far from retiring.Dr. Pope
, however, is quick to reassure that while he
will work less, he
has no plans to completely leave Pope's Kids
Place.One of Dr. Pope's
special joys is visiing with the children he
has helped in the past."All of these kids who come by to see me, who are adults and stop to say hi," he
Dr. Pope Wins Prestigious Jefferson Award in Washington State!Read about the Jefferson AwardsSeattle Post-Intelligencer
- March 26, 2002Dr. Isaac Pope
is a man who has committed himself, heart and soul, to a cause that was worth giving up his
flourishing medical practice: the care of special needs children and their families in Southwest Washington.About ten years ago, Pope
received what amounted to a death sentence when he
was diagnosed with an advanced and difficult to treat form of cancer.Even with radical surgery, his
survival time was estimated to be less than five years.Upon his
discharge from the University of Washington Medical Center
came home to Southwest Washington, and soon decided to devote whatever time he
has left to doing something he
truly believes in.He
envisioned a project that would make a significant difference in the lives of some of Lewis County's
most fragile and vulnerable citizens and their families. Dr. Pope
knew from his
sixteen years of pediatric practice that children and families who live with developmental disabilities and/or special health care needs are faced with endless obstacles and seemingly insurmountable odds when they need services.With that knowledge in mind, his
vision began to take shape.In order to devote himself fully toward making this vision a reality, he
realized that he
would need to sell his
highly successful pediatric practice.Even before the sale was complete he
began to recruit others to help him achieve what seemed to be an impossible task.
Over the past five years, Isaac Pope
has personally expended nearly ten thousand volunteer hours in bringing his
vision to reality.He
has organized and inspired community leaders and members who share his
passion into a cohesive team whose aim is to create a center for children and families challenged by special needs.A consensus among those involved in the project determined that an appropriate name for the center would be Pope's Kids
Place, a choice which Dr. Pope
reluctantly agreed to.Members of the Board of Directors for Lewis County Children with Special Needs, the governing body of the non-profit Pope's Kids
Place answered Dr. Pope's
call and challenge.
Today Pope's Kids
Place offers a pediatric clinic, managed by a pediatric nurse practitioner, a day treatment and respite center for children and families, and an outreach program whose focus is on identifying children and families with special needs.The overriding goal in providing these services is to help maintain the well-being and improve the quality of life for the center's clients.
Beginning at a very early age, Isaac Pope
has lived his
credo that one individual can and does make a difference in the lives of others.He honorably served his country in the U.S. Air Force as an enlisted man and later as a physician with the U.S. Army Medical Corps.After graduation from Gonzaga University in 1965, Isaac Pope joined the Peace Corps and served a two-year stint as a high school science teacher in Sierra Leone, West Africa.He
returned to Washington state and entered the University of Washington's
Master of Public Administration degree program.While enrolled there he served for a time as director of the Peace Corp's training program for Gambia, West Africa. Dr. Pope fulfilled a lifelong dream when he earned a Medical Degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1974.
Since that time, he
has devoted himself to improving the lot and lives of children and families in his
community.In addition to his
very busy pediatric practice, Dr. Pope
provides medical services to Green Hill School and Maple Lane School
, two of the state's juvenile correctional facilities.
In addition to maintaining active involvement in his