In 1971, Loraine Stern was finishing her medical residency at UCLA when someone asked her what her career plans were.
“I said, ‘I don’t know,’ and people said, ‘There’s a place down in Newhall who is looking for pediatricians,’” Stern, 74, said. “And I said, ‘Newhall? What’s that?’”
In 1971, Santa Clarita was still an unincorporated land with ‘lots of onion fields,’ said Stern, when she started at Golden State Medical Group, at the time by Lyons and Calgrove. She moved to Valencia Pediatric Associates five years later and has been working there ever since.
After serving generations of patients over the year — “I have grandpatients, children who are children of my former patients” — Stern plans to retire in December.
“I’ve had the best time,” she said. “I never didn’t want to go to work and I don’t know how many people who can say that about what they do.”
Stern lives in Santa Monica, but said she will still be back in Santa Clarita, the place that she has called home since moving from the Midwest to Los Angeles for her residency.
She grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Chicago for her undergraduate schooling and medical school. Then, Santa Clarita adopted her, she said, and she has spent her whole career serving the patients of the SCV.
Stern said she is reluctant to retire, but due to an illness at the beginning of the year and concerns about future health, decided it was time to step back from the job she’s held for 47 years.
When she began her career as a pediatrician, Stern said treatments and procedures were different. Often, children had to be hospitalized for asthma and were constantly at risk for life-threatening infections. Now, thanks to vaccines, diagnosing children with minor health issues and getting them treatments is easier and “very rewarding,” she said.
“Pediatricians are pretty upbeat,” she said. “And you get to be, I think, because you’re always around kids. I’ve had an amazing relationship with my colleagues too, and no one has ego here. We always talked out all of our disagreements, and I think because we’re all so easygoing. You have to be, to be a pediatrician, and the kids are just so cute.”